Mental health help expands

Shauna McCausland who has used the Home Treatment Crisis Response Service with her dog Ozzy.

Shauna McCausland who has used the Home Treatment Crisis Response Service with her dog Ozzy.

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A home treatment service for people with a severe mental health crisis has expanded its services and is now available across the Southern Health and Social Care Trust 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The Home Treatment Crisis Response Service, which has just celebrated its 10th anniversary, is a team of doctors, nurses, social workers, occupational therapists and support workers who ensure people receive the care and treatment they need at home.

Last year, the service helped prevent hospital admissions for around 550 people experiencing acute mental illnesses, including psychotic disorders, depressive illness and anxiety disorders.

Around one in four people in Northern Ireland will experience problems with their mental health at some point in their lives.

Dr Neta Chada, associate medical director for mental health services in the Southern Trust, said, “Home Treatment Crisis Response helps people who are at an acute stage of mental illness and need intensive input quickly.

“We know that people recover better in their own surroundings, close to their loved ones and want to avoid the added distress of a hospital admission.

“We also have a member of the team based in our inpatient unit, unique to Northern Ireland, who ensures that those patients who do need a hospital admission, get the treatment they need as quickly as possible and then can benefit from early discharge to the Home Treatment team where they can have ongoing care and treatment at home.”

Referrals to the service can be made by GPs, psychiatrists, community mental health teams or other doctors.

Dr Chada added, “We are delighted with the recent expansion of the service and to be able to give more people better access to the care and treatment they need.”