As part of urgent work to improve the mental health crisis care offered in Lincolnshire, and in our local communities, Gainsborough and Grantham have today joined the Night Light Café family and will be closely followed by Spalding, set to open next week.
Night Light Cafés are safe spaces that offer an out-of-hours, non-clinical support service and are staffed by teams of trained volunteers who are available to listen. They can also provide signposting advice and information on other organisations that may be able to help with specific needs, such as debt advice or emergency food parcels.
These three new locations will join the other 10 cafes across Lincoln in supporting anyone who is struggling with their mental health or at risk of experiencing a crisis. They can provide users with somewhere to go and something to do before they reach a mental health crisis, which helps reduce the requirement for public services involvement.
Also in development is a new urgent assessment centre which will enable patients with a mental health related crisis to be taken directly to, or walk-in at, a dedicated centre in Lincoln, rather than going to A&E. This soon to be piloted service model is to support the wider Lincolnshire Health and care system in reducing demand in local emergency departments.
Winter and the continued pressures of COVID-19 will continue to create demand for mental health support and data shows that around 70% of people attending A&E, with a mental health concern, don’t have physical healthcare needs.
Night Light Cafés are funded by NHS England and Improvements as an integral part of the Lincolnshire Mental Health Transformation Programme, which is committed to improving mental health and wellbeing by creating opportunities for people to thrive in connected communities.
Victoria Sleight, Head of CMH Transformation, Lincolnshire NHS said:
“We know that sometimes A&E departments can’t always provide the calming, therapeutic environment for people in crisis, and Lincolnshire will be leading the way as one of just a handful of trusts nationally trialling this service.. Our aim is to enable people to access support and get the care they need at the point they need it.”
The cafes are co-ordinated by Acts Trust in Lincoln in partnership with local charities who provide the venues around the county. Stacey Marriott from Acts Trust said:
“On average, almost 29 guests a week visited a Night Light Café last year and during the pandemic we made over 1,000 phone calls to people who needed support or a friendly ear to listen to them. Night Light Cafés allow people to have better access to face-to-face help when they are struggling in an evening, when practices and community mental health teams are less readily available.”
A guest to a Night Light Café recently said:
“If I hadn’t come to the café, I likely would have self-harmed. It gave me some kind of connection when I felt really alone and it was nice to have the option to talk to someone when I was feeling down.”
Acts Trust is now working in partnership with existing charities in Stamford, Bourne, and Long Sutton with venues also being sought in Skegness and Boston.
It doesn’t cost a thing to go to a Night Light Café, the only ask is that people call or send a quick message to book in advance to make sure someone is available to listen and help. People can self-refer by calling 0300 011 1200 or via Instagram DM or Facebook Messenger @NightLightCafeLincoln. Agencies, or GPs can also refer individuals, with their consent, by completing an online referral form.
To find out more about NHS mental health services in Lincolnshire, please visit the LPFT website.