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Innovative new services preventing mental health crisis

Gwasanaethau arloesol newydd i atal argyfyngau iechyd meddwl

Deputy Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing, Lynne Neagle, has today seen first-hand how funding to improve support for people presenting in mental health crisis is making a difference.

The Deputy Minister visited an out-of-hours sanctuary service, met providers of a mental health community admissions service and the 111 mental health crisis helpline team at Swansea Bay University Health Board. This support has benefited from Welsh Government investment, including an additional £6m funding that has been committed this year to improve the crisis care pathway.

Ms Neagle said “The Welsh Government is committed to improving crisis care, but also to early intervention alternatives so some may never need it. We know that people who present in crisis have a range of needs and will not require clinical intervention. We want people to be able to access the appropriate support service for them, when and where they need it.    

Today I’ve seen great examples of partnership working to provide alternatives to specialist services but also clear pathways to NHS support for those who need it.  These approaches make delivering key commitments in our Together for Mental Health Delivery Plan a reality.”

Director of Mental Health and Learning Disabilities at Swansea Bay Health Board, Dai Roberts, said: "Swansea Bay University Health Board is committed to improving mental health services, particularly out of hours, as it is often these times when mental health crises can develop, and people with mental health problems need support. We welcome the support of Welsh Government to allow us to develop pilots like the open access Friday night/weekend111 service and hope that with continued funding we can expand this to run 24/7."

Lianne Martynski, Hafal’s South Wales Lead and manager of the service, said: “We were delighted to welcome the Minister to the Mental Health Sanctuary today so that she could meet some of the people who have truly benefitted from this pioneering service.

“When people are in crisis it’s essential that they can access practical and holistic person-centered support in an environment which is comfortable and therapeutic. That’s precisely what the Sanctuary provides.

“The impact of the service is already clear: clients have been provided with a range of interventions and referred to ongoing care and treatment which has lessened the need for hospital admissions and reduced the risk of harm for people in the area.”

St John Ambulance Cymru, Head of Ambulance Service, James Shaughnessy said:

“As Wales’ leading first aid charity, our mission is to enhance the health and wellbeing of communities across Wales.

“We’re delighted to be a part of this innovative partnership with Welsh Government and are committed to improving patient experience in the community through the provision of prompt and suitable transport for everyone in our care.”

Notes to editors

The Deputy Minister visited the following services and projects:


The Mental Health Sanctuary Service - Llansamlet

A brand new service provided by mental health charity Hafal in collaboration with Swansea Bay University Health Board. It was developed by the West Glamorgan Regional Partnership, which is a multi-agency group, involving health, local authorities, police, ambulance and service users and carers.

Open from 6pm to 2am, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, it aims to help tackle stress and/or anxiety, low mood, financial worries as well as being a refuge for those suffering from domestic violence or deteriorating mental health as a result of a range of factors or difficulties or anxieties relating to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Sanctuary recently re-opened for face-to-face services after providing an alternative telephone service during the Covid pandemic. Hafal Mental Health Sanctuary Service - Hafal

The Deputy Minister met representatives from the Sanctuary and representatives from the West Glamorgan Regional Partnership who developed it.

St John Ambulance Cymru assistance with mental health community admissions

St John Ambulance Cymru take patients to the service they need when the regular ambulance service is receiving high level of demand, to ensure a timely and patient-friendly alternative to other forms of transports, including police vehicles.

The Deputy Minister met St John crew and operational team at Neath Port Talbot hospital.

Think 111 for Mental Health

Welsh Government has also provided funding  to deliver a 24/7 single mental health point of contact thought the 111 helpline in all seven health boards by April next year.

The Deputy Minister met members of the local and national Think 111 for Mental Health team at Neath Port Talbot hospital.