Coronavirus: How the Maudsley is providing mental health care and support during the lockdown

Katherine Johnston (10 April, 2020)

Mental health support line is open 24/7

23054Maudsley Hospital, Camberwell

A new telephone assessment service has been set up by the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust to help those in need of urgent mental health care during the lockdown.

The trust says it needs to help relieve pressure on other hospital emergency departments during the Coronavirus pandemic whilst protecting its own patients and staff from infection.
The new assessment units will assess anyone without serious physical health problems so they can still receive expert advice and support.
Rather than attending hospital, patients will be able to speak to the team of specialists at the new units based in the Maudsley’s Denmark Hill site and Lewisham’s Ladywell Unit.
Patients can either be referred via the trust’s 24/7 support line, or other referring agencies including NHS 111, London Ambulance Service and the police.
David Bradley, chief executive at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust said: “These are unprecedented times and we have to act fast and find solutions to protect our vulnerable patients during the coronavirus pandemic.
“As a result, our staff have worked tirelessly to create two dedicated Mental Health Assessment Units for our patients because it means they can access support quicker, be less at risk of being infected, or spreading the virus, and it helps give acute trusts the capacity to deal with general patients.

“We know that many of our service users are currently self-isolating at home and the circumstances we find ourselves in will be adversely impacting their mental health.

“We cannot underestimate the impact this outbreak will have on our patients and carers.

“It is our duty to do everything we can to support people with mental illness experiencing a crisis, which is in no doubt going to be exacerbated by concerns around coronavirus.

“We are working hard with our colleagues across the mental health sector to ensure our patients and service users, both inpatients and those receiving treatment in the community, continue to receive the care and support they need at this very challenging time.

“The NHS is working closer together than ever before and we have the opportunity to save peoples’ lives if we act fast and in partnership.”

Many services have now been adapted to allow safe care to continue amidst social distancing, for example using phone, video conferencing appointments where a face-to-face appointment is not essential.  Those for whom need face-to-face support is necessary are still being seen in person.

The trust, which covers Southwark, Lambeth, Croydon and Lewisham is predicting an increase in reported mental health problems during the crisis as people are affected by social isolation, financial worries and health fears.

During the crisis, the trust is also appealing for donation to help staff and patients including hand gel and moisturising hand cream.

 

How to get help

The South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust has a support line for those in need of support, open 24/7.

Call  0800 731 2864

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