Mental health charities have welcomed the
government’s decision to set up crisis resolution teams to support
people with severe mental illness but believe that more needs to be
done to address the problem.
Over the next two years 77 crisis resolution
teams will be established throughout the country, and by April 2004
all people in contact with specialist mental health services will
Health minister Jacqui Smith said that the 12
crisis resolution teams already in operation have shown that by
intervening early in a crisis, 85 per cent of people can be kept
out of hospital and successfully treated in their own homes.
However, the Mental Health Foundation claims
that the impact of the initiative could be limited.
“One of the biggest problems that people
experience is the length of time it takes to first get referred to
mental health services. As the crisis resolution teams will only be
available to those already in contact with mental health services,
this will not improve the situation for those still waiting for
referral,” said Alison Faulkner, head of service user initiatives
Alison Cobb, policy officer at Mind, said that
timely and accessible help for people in crisis is an essential
part of a responsive mental health service.
“We are very pleased to see this service being
extended. Knowing you can get appropriate help as soon as it is
requested makes a huge difference to the quality of mental health
service users’ lives.”
Mind would also like to see alternative forms
of crisis support such as user-led crisis houses.