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  • New mental health support centre to open in Skelmersdale

    Henry James

    A NEW mental health support centre is to open in Skelmersdale this month.

    The new centre, which will be provided by the Birchwood charity, based at the Ennerdale Centre, Tanhouse, will offer a same-day referral service to West Lancashire adults.

    It will provide support to people who are experiencing mental health problems and in need of urgent practical support to help with their mental health crisis.

    The centre will be delivered in partnership with a range of organisations to ensure the best possible support is given.

    It aims to provide rapid, same-day assessment and support for people in mental distress, providing them with the support and help they need swiftly, while also reducing pressures on local NHS services, such as GP practices and emergency departments.

    Anyone who feels they will benefit from the centre can access the support by self-referring.

    The centre will support residents by having confidential discussions with them, offering them guidance where possible and referring them onto further specialist support, depending on their individual needs and circumstances, if they cannot be met at the Ennerdale Centre.

    Stella Connell, chief executive officer at the Birchwood charity, said: “We are really excited to have been commissioned to provide this new mental health support centre in Skelmersdale.

    “It will run alongside our other Birchwood services including our homeless and supported housing services, social isolation, counselling, mediation, community cafes and outreach services.

    “The centre will offer a safe, calm, warm and friendly atmosphere for people who are distressed and may find themselves in urgent need of mental health support.

    “We know that everyone is different and therefore have diverse needs when experiencing a crisis or needing longer term support. Our new centre will pride itself on offering a vast array of services co-ordinated from one place, with a firm focus on dealing with the immediate needs of the individual.

    “We know that many people experience short-term mental health crisis due to issues with matters such as housing, homelessness, debt, relationships, social isolation, poverty, unemployment and many more factors. These types of issues have a serious impact on a person’s mental health, but the crisis will often pass quickly if they have access to fast, compassionate and immediate practical and ongoing support.”

    Phil Winnard, mental health commissioning manager at NHS West Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “We know that in West Lancashire, there is a need for mental health support services to be more accessible and closer to home, providing more timely support alongside an urgent need to reduce the pressures on our health care services.

    “The new centre will do this by offering an alternative to their GP, walk-in-centre or accident and emergency department. It will not replace any existing local statutory mental health services, but it will have close links with it. People will be able to contact the centre and book an appointment to meet with specially-trained support staff, obtain telephone support or be signposted to other services.

    “We have been working closely with North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust (NWAS), the police, Lancashire County Council, West Lancashire Borough Council, the local community, voluntary and faith sector, and our statutory mental health providers to develop a model that we hope will make a real difference to people’s lives.

    “We will monitor and evaluate the service to ensure that it provides exactly what West Lancashire needs, both now and in the future.”

    Accessing the centre can be done by a range of referral pathways, including self-referral, by calling the centre on 01695 720 128.

    The Ennerdale Centre is  at  Ennerdale, Tanhouse, Skelmersdale WN8 6AN.

    An open day will be taking place this Friday (February 14) from 12.30pm, where members of the public and interested partners can come to look at the new site.

    For further details  contact the Birchwood Centre on  01695 717 115.

    Although initially the centre will provide  support to people aged 18 and over, it is hoped to  extend this service to children and young people in the future.


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