Dedicated Section 136 Place of Safety for children with mental health needs opens in Leeds (30 Jun 2016)

IMG_8606A new facility for vulnerable children who need urgent mental health care has opened in Leeds.

The children's Section 136 suite or 'Place of Safety' at The Becklin Centre is for children and young people under 18-years-old who are detained by the police under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act.

Young people would come to the new suite to receive acute care and assessment in a clinical environment, rather than be detained in police custody.

In the past, children detained under Section 136 had been assessed alongside adults in one unit. In October 2015, an enhanced Section 136 Place of Safety for vulnerable adults opened at The Becklin Centre, meaning the old 136 suite could be refurbished to provide a separate area for children and young people.

The dedicated Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) suite has two rooms, and young people brought to the unit by the police will be seen and assessed by a CAMHS doctor.

Judith Barnes, Clinical Operations Manager for the new children's Section 136 suite at Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, said: "Children and young people have always been included within the Trust's 136 service provision, however there are many benefits to having a separate area for them.

"The Trust is committed to seeing everyone in the most appropriate and safe environment and it can be daunting for a child in a vulnerable or distressed state to be in contact with adult service users.

"The dedicated CAMHS 136 Place of Safety offers them separation and provides privacy for children and their families at what is a particularly difficult time."

Jane Mischenko, Commissioning Lead for Children and Maternity Services at NHS Leeds South and East Clinical Commissioning Group, said: "We welcome this facility for young people in Leeds.

"One of our key priorities for commissioning health care for children and young people in Leeds is effective support for them when in crisis."
West Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson, added: "I welcome this important step forward in ensuring there is a more appropriate response to the needs of under 18s. Our shared aspiration is that none of those who experience a mental health crisis in this age group should be detained in police custody.

"I will continue to work with partners through the Criminal Justice and Mental Health Forum I set up last year, to ensure consistency across the whole of West Yorkshire."

This latest development is part of the Trust's Crisis Assessment Service which saw a new Crisis Assessment Unit open in July 2015. The unit offers services for those experiencing an acute and complex mental health crisis that require a period of assessment of up to 72 hours.

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