New support for patients experiencing a mental health crisis

24 May 2022, 1:51 p.m.

A new initiative to improve the experience of patients experiencing a mental health crisis launches this week in our Emergency Departments at Cheltenham and Gloucester

Banners in both Emergency Departments advise patients who are attending A&E as a result of a mental health crisis that they can pick up a card to pass to staff, avoiding the need to discuss this in a busy reception area. The simple cards are designed to prevent further stress to those experiencing a mental health crisis and enable them to feel that they have arrived in a safe space.

Like hospitals around the country, Emergency Department (ED) attendances for mental health needs in Gloucestershire have increased in recent years and it’s important that people feel as comfortable as possible when they reach out for help.

Sally Hayes, Deputy Divisional Director of Quality and Nursing for Unscheduled Care at the Trust commented:

“We see a significant and increasing number of people presenting in A&E who are suffering with their mental health and associated physical health conditions. These support cards are just one of several initiatives that have come out of our ED Mental Health Working Group, which has worked closely with patients with lived experience of mental health crises.

“We are committed to providing a safe space where people can get the help that they need and we hope that these new cards will make people feel more comfortable that the reason for their attendance need not be shared with a busy waiting room.”

This week’s launch follows the opening of a dedicated mental health room at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital last September that features a specially commissioned floor-to-ceiling artwork by Christina Sadler named Untitled 2021/ A Moment to Pause to create a calmer and more soothing environment.

Dr Faye Noble, Consultant in Emergency Medicine at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said:

“Although our emergency care services have traditionally focused on meeting people’s physical health needs, we recognise that mental health is increasingly important, so our approach to delivering care needs to evolve to reflect this."

Anyone can be affected by a mental health crisis, whether this is due to bereavement, addiction, anxiety or an existing mental health condition. We want people to know that when they take the important step of seeking help at our Emergency Departments, they can do so without fear of judgement.

Dr Faye Noble, Consultant in Emergency Medicine