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Supporting people with complex mental health needs

Posted: - 29th October 2019

Update: 10/08/2021
Please note that Professor Tim Kendall, National Clinical Director for Mental Health, has asked Mental Health Trusts to review their models of care for service users experiencing cyclical and regular crises including, where adopted, Serenity Integrated Mentoring (SIM). The outcome of these reviews will be considered by NHS England in the Autumn. A link to the AHSN Network’s responses to a Freedom of Information request can be found on their website. The latest response was published on 3 September.

In our region, Serenity Integrated Mentoring (SIM) was implemented in Doncaster and we estimated it has saved their police, ambulance, emergency department and mental health services between £200,000 and £300,000 within the first 12 months of going live.

The programme finished in March 2020 and the mentoring of fifteen high intensity service users in the Doncaster area resulted in reductions in A&E attendance and the number of Section 136s applied (Section 136s give police the power to remove a person from a public place and take them to a place of safety when they appear to be suffering from a mental disorder).

SIM is a model of care using specialist police officers within community mental health services to help support high intensity users struggling with complex, behavioural disorders. This improves quality of life for those service users, provides a consistent framework approach to managing the care of service users across organisations and reduces costs to the local health and police systems.

SIM carefully selects and trains police officers and police staff alongside their clinical colleagues. Together they learn about the trauma and triggers that lead to high intensity behaviour, they discuss how best to manage risk and how to ensure that the service user does not keep on repeating the same high risk, high harm behaviour.

Health economic analysis has demonstrated that this type of intensive crisis behaviour can cost police, ambulance, emergency departments and mental health services between £20,000 and £30,000 a year per patient. It is estimated that there are around 2,000-2,500 people across the UK who place these repeat demands upon services.

AHSNs across the country partnered with mental health trusts and police services and rolled out the SIM model and more than half of mental health trusts across the country have set up teams.

Our Serenity Integrated Mentoring project has now ended and we are no longer involved in the delivery of it.