Norman Lamb, Liberal Democrat health spokesman and Member of Parliament for North Norfolk, visited the Leicestershire Crisis House which is operated by national mental health charity Richmond Fellowship, part of Recovery Focus.
Of his visit, he said:
“I am enormously impressed. It’s civilised, it’s humane and for someone in crisis it is a massively valuable resource. It’s so much better for the individual to come here if they don’t have to go to hospital.”
The crisis house provides short respite for people experiencing a mental health crisis. Since coming into operation the crisis house has reduced local A&E admissions by 20%.
As well as the six bed crisis house, Richmond Fellowship also provides a volunteer operated crisis helpline to support people in a mental health crisis which has seen call numbers increase from 28 a month to over 900 in the last year.
During his visit Norman Lamb spoke out against the inequality of mental health funding and the need for more support:
“Mental health is absolutely not prioritised enough, it loses out to physical health, and it’s too often neglected.
“Often when there are enormous financial pressures it’s easy just to trim a little off mental health all over the country. Whereas making the investment in brilliant innovative services like this is a much better use of the resources available.
“It’s about time we treated the whole person and we treated their psychological needs as much as their physical needs.”
Harry was referred to the Leicestershire Crisis House after experiencing a mental health crisis. He was offered a place at the crisis house instead of being admitted to a psychiatric unit in hospital. He said:
“I was advised to come to the crisis house instead of being forcefully admitted to hospital, because there was no other alternative. If a place like this hadn’t of existed I would have been forcibly admitted to hospital and sectioned.
“Coming here and having the supportive environment which is the crisis house was one hundred times better. It’s not just the crisis house itself, it’s the people who work here and the way the way they run it. It was the first time I’d felt safe in a while.”
Joe Redmond, managing director of Richmond Fellowship (north), said:
“We were delighted to have Norman Lamb visit us and experience how a Richmond Fellowship crisis house operates.
“We are humbled by his praise and it’s a credit to our staff team in Leicestershire who provide a fantastic and successful service to people who’re experiencing a mental health crisis.
“Our aim is to provide more and more crisis houses around the country to help relieve the pressure on A&E services and provide a person focussed and caring service to people who need it most.”
For more information on Richmond Fellowship and the services they provide both in Leicestershire and nationally, visit: www.richmondfellowship.org.uk