Thursday, July 3, 2008

More info on the Unit.

We are fortunate in my particular London borough to have a crisis unit. It consists of a large house (with a beautiful, large garden), big enough to take a maximum of eight clients at a time. All clients have their own bedrooms and share all other communal spaces: there's a comfy, homely TV lounge, a kitchen where we eat together and can make drinks or snacks anytime, an art-room/conservatory and a verandah where the smokers are allowed to indulge.

Lunch and dinner is provided by a cook, special diets (such as my veganism) are catered for and the food is very high quality and delicious.

All clients are assigned a named worker, but even when this person is not available, they can speak with someone else privately.

Unless there is a particular issue of risk clients are free to come and go as they please. In case there is a risk, it is agreed with such clients at the outset that they will leave the Unit only as agreed.

The service is designed for people with mental health problems either in need of respite or going through a crisis which nevertheless is not severe enough to require treatment at the hospital.

There is a weekly yoga class, and the chance to enjoy a massage. There are also relaxation sessions, staff talk you through 'grounding exercises', there is a community meeting once a week, and 'coffee mornings' to socialise. There is also an art and craft session, access to the internet and facilities to do your own laundry.

Most important of all one is treated throughout as if one is important. The food, the homely comforts and the harmony of the surroundings communicate a vital non-verbal message to that effect. The crisis unit is easily, in my opinion, the best mental health service in my borough. Another time I will tell you more about the hospital and what a way we have to go in terms of acute mental health care.

6 comments:

Gianna said...

sounds lovely Zoe,
I'm so glad a place like that exists for you.

All crisis care (acute care too) should be in such environments. It's been done before...Soteria House being a case in point.

In Atlanta, Georgia there is a respite center that is also a large home and it's completely run by peers.

these places are few and far between...so glad it was available for you.

werehorse said...

It sounds superb, I wish there was something like that near me - I was talking with a friend the other day about sometimes you just need a safe place and people around for a short time - not hospital, but a place that might enable you to avoid hospital.

colouredmind said...

That sounds like a really supportive place to be. Crisis units are the way forward with less stress put on acute wards with patients who are too well to be in hospital but not well enough to be in the community.

Zoe said...

Thanks werehorse, colouredmind: yes there are all too few places like this, yet the function they fulfil is so important.

Kiyana Stone said...

Wow! Is this a public facility? The places here in the U.S. are somewhat sparse or else horribly expensive. That's it - I'm moving to England. (Well, maybe not.)
I've always liked the hospital, but it is nice to have an alternative.
Thanks for you're beautiful posts.

Kiyana Stone said...

Wow! Is this a public facility? The places here in the U.S. are somewhat sparse or else horribly expensive. That's it - I'm moving to England. (Well, maybe not.)
I've always liked the hospital, but it is nice to have an alternative.
Thanks for you're beautiful posts.