West Yorkshire Police who are called to help people in mental distress in the Bradford District area, can now refer people to Safe Spaces.
Anyone aged seven and over living in Bradford District and Craven who is experiencing mental health distress can access Safe Spaces (individuals don’t need to go through West Yorkshire Police). To access this service, call First Response on 0800 952 1181 (24 hour helpline) and ask for ‘Safe Spaces’. For further information on Safe Spaces visit www.mindinbradford.org.uk/support-for-you/safe-spaces/
Until recently, Bradford’s police officers had little option other than to take people to a place of safety like accident and emergency, to ensure they could be supported by appropriate professionals.
As part of the Safe Spaces service offer there are local hubs and crisis cafés, and an overnight service for children and young people, which replaced Sanctuary and Haven and the existing overnight children’s space. The Safe Spaces are calm, non-clinical places staffed by crisis support workers and operate from noon to 2.30am every day.
The Cellar Trust and Mind in Bradford, commissioned by Bradford District Care Health and Care Partnership to deliver Safe Spaces, are working together to deliver Safe Spaces. Both organisations have been working alongside PC Jodie Duane, West Yorkshire Police Mental Health Engagement Officer for the Bradford District, to create a police referral pathway that is quick to access.
Heather Butcher, Safe Spaces Programme Director, Mind in Bradford, said: “Our work with colleagues at West Yorkshire Police means that they can now bring people directly to our Safe Spaces in Bradford or Keighley. The hope with this work is that people within the Bradford District and Craven will be able to access a calm space and will get quicker and more appropriate support when they are struggling.’’
PC Jodie Duane, West Yorkshire Police, said: “Police officers are getting reports of people in mental health crisis on a daily basis. We want to provide the best service possible when a person is at their lowest. This referral pathway gives frontline officers an opportunity to seek immediate support for that person, which has not been an option before.”
Iain MacBeath, Strategic Director for Health and Wellbeing at Bradford Council and Director of Integration for Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust, said: “It’s fantastic to see how West Yorkshire Police can now make referrals to Safe Spaces, this means the individual will get the support they require within their community rather than a hospital setting. Safe Spaces is there for individuals who are in distress, this includes severe anxiety and/or panic attacks, suicidal thoughts, or intense depression.”
Inspector Osman Khan from the Stronger Communities Team has described the initiative as ground-breaking. “This partnership approach will be highly effective in addressing complex issues and will help build stronger relationships between organisations and individuals, leading to better outcomes for all involved.”
Individuals can also refer into Safe Spaces by calling Guide-Line on 08001 884 884, Mind in Bradford’s telephone help-line for confidential, emotional support. Lines are open 8am – 12am (midnight), 365 days a year.