Dr Alex George, an emergency department doctor at University Hospital Lewisham and former Love Island contestant, has today (24 January 2019) opened the new mental health crisis café, ‘the Harbour’.
The Harbour is a joint partnership venture between Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) and Certitude, a mental health charity.
It will provide peer support to people experiencing a mental health crisis. The aim is to offer people who are feeling distressed someone to talk to in a relaxed, non-clinical setting. This will help them avoid spending extended time in the Emergency Department or as an inpatient at the hospital. It’s not a walk-in service but will take hospital and community referrals from SLaM for those aged 18 and above.
Dr Alex George says: “I’m really excited to be supporting this fantastic initiative for local people and to reduce the stigma around mental health. I see many people every day in A&E experiencing mental health needs, such as anxiety and depression. This café will be a safe place for them to come, take some time out, talk about their concerns and give them access to specialist support.”
Liz Durrant, Director of Mental Health for Certitude, says: “We are delighted to be involved in this great new partnership. We believe in the power of peer support and the need for alternative places for people to get support when they are experiencing crisis.”
SLaM Lewisham Service Director, Donna Hayward-Sussex added: “We are pleased to be supporting people in Lewisham, who are experiencing mental distress, to get the help and advice they need and are referred to this new crisis café service. Working in partnership with local health partners, as well as people who have experienced mental health problems in the past, those feeling vulnerable and no longer able to cope, will be seen by the right expert people, in the right place at the right time.”
Open from 2pm to 6am, seven days a week, the Harbour will be staffed by a range of experts, including people who have experienced problems themselves. It will initially provide support for up to six people at a time.
For further information, please contact:
Communications department, Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Communications Department, Certitude E: email@example.com
Communications Department, SLaM E: firstname.lastname@example.org