Recently, the independent Mental Health Taskforce recommended that 24/7 mental health liaison teams – currently present in only a minority of A&E departments in England – should be rolled out across the country so that people in crisis can get specialised help at A&E when they need it.

Nicky Lidbetter, Chief Officer of Self Help, responded:

“A&E mental health liaison teams are available in certain areas of the country and do a great job, but it is crucial that earlier interventions are available in our local communities.

As an organisation that is constantly working to ensure better access for people with mental health conditions, we believe it is important to provide a range of support services which are readily available within the community.

This includes early treatment in the community- such as peer support to help people manage their mental health problems as soon as possible, to crisis care services – that can step in when someone becomes acutely unwell.

To this end, it is important to ensure that a range of services are provided for those in need of crisis support in addition to expanding existing hospital-based crisis provision.”

Self Help currently run The Sanctuary, a 24-hour service offering: a crisis line during the day, from 6am – 8pm, in Manchester, Trafford, Salford, Tameside and Glossop; alongside a night time service, from 8pm – 6am, in Bolton, Wigan and Leigh, when clients can attend in person. The overnight service assists people who are dealing with emotional crisis out-of hours, experiencing anxiety, panic attacks, depression and / or suicidal thoughts.

This was set up in the light of the fact that many people who were struggling to cope had few, suitable places to turn out-of-office hours.

“It is clear that there is a need for The Sanctuary and that the service offers a viable alternative to already over stretched public services.

We have been able to support over 2,000 people throughout the North West at a time of crisis by advocating, what Self Help refer to as, the stepped care model of mental health crisis provision. This involves the right intensity of crisis service for each type of crisis prevention, as not all situations require a blue light and A&E response.

If the Sanctuary model was more widely adopted, we could help support the more vulnerable people who need help overnight and out of regular ‘office hours’. It is my belief that every town and city in this country should have a Sanctuary facility.”

To find out more about The Sanctuary visit