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First-in-Wales mental health hub offers new way of helping young people in crisis

Yr hwb iechyd meddwl cyntaf yng Nghymru yn cynnig ffordd newydd o helpu pobl ifanc mewn argyfwng

The first mental health crisis hub in Wales for young people who are in need of urgent support has been praised by the Deputy Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing, Lynne Neagle and Plaid Cymru’s Designated Member, Siân Gwenllian.

The 24/7 Crisis Hwb facility has been established in Carmarthen by Hywel Dda University Health Board, thanks to a commitment in the Co-operation Agreement between the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru.

The Children and Young People’s Sanctuary service offers bespoke mental health provision for children and young people in the right environment, when they need it most.

It will prevent long waits for distressed children in A&E and will prevent the need for acute mental health wards to admit children for short assessments.

Other centres are being developed in the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board area, the Swansea Bay University Health Board area and in the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board area. Funding investment in the projects to date is £3.18 million.

The Deputy Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing visited the newly established crisis facility alongside the Designated Member Sian Gwenllian MS.

Lynne Neagle said:

“This newly developed 24/7 bespoke service will provide a safe space for children and young people who are in need of crisis support for their mental health, and who would have otherwise found themselves in busy A&E or mental health wards.

“This will be invaluable to those who need it most and who are at their most vulnerable. I am delighted young people were involved in the development of the centre.

“These services are part of our efforts to transform the way the NHS responds to urgent mental health issues, and this project has seamlessly linked with the recently launched ‘111 press 2’ helpline for urgent mental health support and the conveyance service provided in partnership with St John’s Ambulance. They will also help relieve pressure on our emergency services.”

Plaid Cymru Designated Member Sian Gwenllian said:

“Supporting young people facing a mental health crisis is essential so it is vital that we are expanding these important services. Having support on hand for a young person when they need it the most and in the right environment will help people when they can often be at their most vulnerable.

“This provides an exemplar model for better joined-up crisis support, and it’s very encouraging that even within a short timescale we are already delivering on the commitment to open crucial centres such as this as part of the Co-operation Agreement. I look forward to seeing best practice spread across Wales.”

Steve Moore, Chief Executive of Hywel Dda University Health Board, said:

“We are incredibly proud of this innovative development that is a first for Wales.

“This pioneering Hwb is a new service that will provide a round-the-clock bespoke facility as an alternative to hospital admission. It offers a safe space for children and young people who are in crisis and would otherwise end up in either urgent and emergency care or a mental health ward.

“Congratulations to all the teams who have worked so hard in developing this facility, which will make a great difference to the health and well-being of children and young people in the Hywel Dda area.”

Notes to editors

The Cooperation Agreement between the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru contains a commitment to ‘test how community facilities run by trained third sector staff with clear referral pathways into NHS services if needed – the sanctuary model – can help support young people in crisis or with an urgent mental health or emotional wellbeing issue. These would be open evenings and weekends.’

The Cooperation Agreement can be found at: The Co-operation Agreement: 2021 | GOV.WALES