Lifeline unit for vulnerable young people with mental health issues opens in Leeds

Vulnerable young people needing urgent mental health support will benefit from a dedicated new unit in Leeds.

Judith Barnes, clinical operations manager, at the new Place of Safety suite for young people in crisis at the Becklin Centre. Picture by James Hardisty.

The children’s Place of Safety suite at The Becklin Centre, in Burmantofts, is a way in which under 18s who have been detained by the police under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act can access the assessments and treatment they need.

Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (LYPFT) has opened the new two-room specialised space in a bid to prevent young people in crisis spending time in police cells.

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Previously children detained under Section 136 would have been assessed alongside adults in one unit but LYPFT invested £230,000 in a new space for adults in October last year.

The new Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) space is situated in the old joint unit, which has been refurbished and dedicated to young people.

Judith Barnes, clinical operations manager at the unit, said: “It can be daunting for a child in a vulnerable or distressed state to be in contact with adult service users.

“The dedicated CAMHS 136 Place of Safety offers them separation and provides privacy for children and their families at what is a particularly difficult time.”

This latest development is part of LYPFT’s Crisis Assessment Service which saw a new Crisis Assessment Unit open in July 2015.

The unit offers services for adults experiencing an acute and complex mental health crisis that require a period of assessment of up to 72 hours.

West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson, added: “Our shared aspiration is that none of those who experience a mental health crisis in this age group should be detained in police custody.”