MENTAL health campaigners have praised a ‘fantastic’ new crisis centre but urged more still needs to be done.
Former Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell visited the newly-opened Richmond Fellowship’s mental health crisis service in Burnley.
The service at Oak House in Padiham Road offers people living with mental health issues across East Lancashire a place of sanctuary.
Mr Campbell, who is an ambassador for Time to Change and other mental health charities, said it will provide a crucial service.
He said: “With the campaigning we are going in the right direction in terms of removing that stigma.
“But policy makers can’t use that as an excuse, they need to put in what’s needed. Everyone has mental health, and everyone will know someone affected by it. The world is a tricky place, it’s scary and people need to know they have somewhere they can go.
“If you’re from Burnley, if you’re from Blackburn or Accrington, it’s fantastic to have this local service for local people, they need that middle ground for help.”
The house has 10 members of staff and five rooms available for guests to stay in for up to seven days at a time. The new services comes after the success of their other Lancashire base in Coppull.
The work is in partnership with Lancashire Care Foundation Trust, and they aim to work with each individual guest to give them the help they need.
Derek Caren, chief executive of Richmond Fellowship, said: “We are delighted to launch the new service. Two years ago this was just a concept. We’ve worked with the trust over the past two years and wanted to provided local services in Lancashire.”
Burnley MP Julie Cooper also visited the site and urged more work to be done looking into mental health. She said: “This is fantastic to have this facility in Burnley, but we need more, the problems are not going to solve themselves.”
ScotRail has launched a new app for employees to help prevent suicides on the railway.
It has been developed by Network Rail in partnership with Samaritans and will offer guidance on possible warning signs and how best to support someone in need.
It also provides a direct link to the British Transport Police for immediate support and advice.
The app is now available to all 4,500 ScotRail employees on their smartphones and tablets and is in addition to Samaritans’ specialist suicide prevention training that more than 300 ScotRail Alliance colleagues have completed.
The ScotRail Alliance is also supporting the ‘Small Talk Saves Lives’ campaign, which aims to give travellers the confidence to act if they notice someone who may be at risk of suicide on or around the rail network.
People are being reminded that if they concerned about someone they see on the railway or elsewhere, they should trust their instincts.
Suicidal thoughts can often be temporary.
Strike up a conversation with a simple question such as asking about the weather, or where they’re travelling today.
If you think someone may need help, introduce yourself, encourage them to talk and focus on listening.
There’s no evidence that talking to someone who could be at risk can make things worse.
It’s important to act. If you don’t feel comfortable approaching the person yourself, tell a member of staff, a police officer or dial 999.
David Lister, ScotRail Alliance sustainability and safety assurance director, said: “The ScotRail Alliance takes its commitment to supporting those with mental health problems very seriously.
“Encountering someone in distress on the railway can be a daunting experience, even for the most experienced of our people.
“That’s why we’ve launched this app for ScotRail employees, to offer quick help and advice to those who come across someone who needs urgent support.
“Thanks to the work done by the rail industry and Samaritans, for every life lost on the railway, six are saved.”
James Jopling, executive director for Samaritans in Scotland, said:
“Suicide is not inevitable and any one of us could have an opportunity to save a life.
“By empowering their staff to act if they see someone at risk, the rail industry continues to make great efforts in reducing and preventing suicide across Scotland.”
A team of young people are aiming to improve mental health services by leading a study commissioned by the Scottish Government as part of a 10 year Mental Health Strategy launched last year.In a partnership between the Scottish Government, Young Scot and the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH), 22 members of the Youth Commission on Mental Health Services will begin work this week in an effort to reshape the support available.
The Youth Commission will work together to develop recommendations for ministers and service providers on how child and adolescent mental health services can be improved.
Mental health is a key theme of the Scottish Governments Year of Young People 2018.
Renfrewshire Council’s Convener of Education and Children’s Services Cllr Jim Paterson has welcomed this progress, he said: “I am pleased to see that this Commission will begin work this week. This is the Year of Young People 2018 in Scotland and it is extremely encouraging to know that this study will give young people the chance to shape and develop their own strategies and ideas on the best ways to improve mental health services for them.”
“This commission gives an opportunity to deliver real change, based on evidence and experience, and create a society and health service that better meets the mental and physical health needs of our children and young people.”
“Here in Renfrewshire, the SNP fully understand that young people should be involved in decisions that affect them. I am very proud that Renfrewshire was one of the first local authorities to have a young person put forward a motion to Council which will see young people in Renfrewshire involved in the development of the Personal, Social and Health Education.”
Vice Chair of the Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Integration Joint Board, Cllr Jacqueline Cameron, added: “Improving mental health in young people is a key aim for the SNP group in Renfrewshire Council and it is encouraging to know that future policy can be built around work undertaken by young people themselves.”
“The Scottish Government have been very supportive in the innovative ways that we can improve the mental health needs of our younger generations. This commission is a step forward in improving the mental health of young people in Renfrewshire.”