After figures from the BBC today revealed that some people are visiting A & E departments up to 50 times a year, many for mental health difficulties, Anxiety UK is calling for more specialised services to be rolled out in local areas to support those with mental health issues. 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health difficulty (such as anxiety, panic or depression) over the course of the year, with the total cost of mental illness costing the NHS around £20 billion annually.
“Localised services have improved under the national Improved Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) scheme, but these figures are evidence that people are still slipping through the net and are not receiving the support they need,” explains Nicky Lidbetter, chief executive of Anxiety UK.
In 2013, Anxiety UK’s sister charity, Self Help Services, opened a 24 hour drop-in centre for those experiencing a mental health crisis. The Sanctuary, located at the Kath Locke Centre in Moss Side, provides access to staff and volunteers with personal experience of mental health issues who give a range of support including managing panic attacks, offering a space to talk and assistance with coping after the initial crisis. Support is provided in a face to face capacity or over telephone via paid staff and peer volunteers.
“The Sanctuary has been very well received in Manchester and has provided support to some of the most vulnerable people at their darkest hour,” says Nicky. “It takes pressure off area A & E services and allows the person to receive the help and advice they need. If more services like this were available nationally, perhaps some wouldn’t feel the need to rely so heavily on A & E when experiencing mental distress.”
More information about The Sanctuary can be found by clicking here or by calling 0161 637 0808.