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The Sanctuary: Grimsby set to close

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The Sanctuary: Grimsby, run by Open Door, will be closing on 30 September 2015, as its pilot comes to an end.

Since opening in January 2015, the service has provided a safe and welcoming place for anyone in the town to come to if they have reached crisis point overnight.

Based within Open Door’s building on Albion Street, The Sanctuary opened from 8pm to 6am, staffed by people who have experience themselves of depression, anxiety, low mood, panic attacks or suicidal thoughts.

The Sanctuary was commissioned by North East Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group, on a six-month pilot basis. It was subsequently extended for a further two months, up to the end of September. Funding for the six-month pilot was time-limited and from an external source.

Designed to both provide expert help to those who need it, and to alleviate pressures elsewhere in the health system, demand for the service has been increasing month-by-month, from 51 calls in January to 381 calls in August.

Unfortunately the current financial climate means that North East Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is having to make difficult decisions across its many services priorities, and has determined that it is not able to invest in this additional service in the longer term.

Cathy Kennedy, Deputy Chief Executive of the CCG, said: “North East Lincolnshire already has excellent mental health services provided by NAViGO, Open Minds, voluntary organisations and private providers.

“While people experiencing a difficult time found the pilot service helpful, there are other places to turn during a mental health crisis during the evening or night and unfortunately we are not in a position where we are able to prioritise funding for this additional service.

“People experiencing depression, anxiety, low mood, panic attacks or suicidal thoughts who need to speak to someone immediately can call our Single Point of Access any time day or night on 01472 256 256. They will speak to a local person who will ensure they can access the right service for their needs.

“If people simply need to talk to someone about their feelings or worries and do not wish to access a mental health service, they can call the Samaritans day or night. They don’t have to be having thoughts about harming themself and they can ring the Samaritans on 01472 353111.

“If someone is in immediate danger of harming themself or someone else, this should be treated as an emergency and the 999 service used.”

The service will continue to run as normal until 30 September; from that point on, alternative provision for people in Grimsby suffering from crisis is available from, NAVIGO, Open Minds and A&E.

Rob Baty, Social Care Manager at Open Door, said: “The service has been welcomed by supporting organisations, and this joint approach to helping those in need has improved lives as well as offering access to the most appropriate services.

“In particular, we have received calls from many different individuals from a variety of walks of life, due to the economic situation and the stress and anxiety this can cause. It’s going to be great loss to the area and to those experiencing mental health crises through the night.”

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