Hounslow’s young people to benefit from UK’s first mental health crisis cafe

Children and young people in Hounslow can now take advantage of the UK's first mental health and wellbeing cafe.

Published: Monday, 6th February 2023

photo of the new mental health cafe
Circle time: The new mental health and wellbeing cafe can be used by children and young people from Hounslow.

Children and young people in Hounslow will benefit from the opening of a new mental health cafe designed specifically for their needs.

The service called The Circle provides drop-in and appointment-based specialist mental health support for anyone under 18, all year round.

Situated on South Ealing Road, in Ealing, the new service is a partnership between Hammersmith, Fulham, Ealing and Hounslow Mind (HFEH MIND) in partnership with NHS Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) across North West London.

Circle has been designed to create a welcoming, calm, and safe space with cafe facilities for local children and young people.

The service is staffed with both clinical and non-clinical highly specialised Crisis Support Navigators from HFEH Mind who have a background in CAMHS and crisis care.

Young people can self-refer or be referred to the Circle by a school, social care, A&E, or CAMHS crisis services between 3pm-11pm on weekdays and 12-8pm on weekends.

It provides drop-in and appointment-based specialist mental health support 365 days a year, to relieve pressure on local A&E departments.

Nana Owusu, Director of Children & Young People’s Services at HFEH Mind said, “A&E departments are already overstretched and often not the best place for a young person in crisis who’s already feeling distressed and overwhelmed. Circle provides a much-needed safe space and immediate support for young people who reach a crisis point with their mental health.”

The service has been co-designed with local young people, as well as parents, carers and local partner agencies, including Community CAMHS teams, CAMHS Crisis teams, social care, the Met Police, local GPs, youth liaison and diversion teams, drug and alcohol services and NHS North West London Integrated Care Board.

Dr Johan Redlinghuys, Clinical Director for North West London CAMHS Provider Collaborative said: “Opening the Circle is a significant landmark in our strive to make sure young people in mental health crisis are treated by the right people, in the right place, as quickly as possible. Demand for NHS mental health services continues to increase and so by putting in place a specialist hub to support young people across North West London, we hope this will reduce pressure on A&E units and set a benchmark for other similar services across the NHS.”  

The centre will run on an 18-month trial pilot project and will be monitored by the partners throughout this time.

The launch of The Circle coincides with Children’s Mental Health Week, which is being supported by Hounslow Council.

Hounslow Council’s Cabinet Member for Children, Learning and Employment, Councillor Lily Bath, said: “The theme for this year’s Children’s Mental Health Week is all about making connections. So this fantastic new facility will provide a space for our young people to meet with professionals and their peers Ito discuss any issues they may be facing.”

“The Circle will provide a valuable lifeline to those children, young people and their parents and carers who may be facing a crisis. The opening of the centre sends the message that our children and young people have someone and somewhere to turn to for help and they do not have to face life’s challenges alone.”

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