A dedicated safe place where islanders can access free support before reaching mental health crisis will open its doors next month at Charles House in town.
Opening on 4 November, the Charles Street-based facility is part of a pilot scheme aiming to help islanders with issues such as anxiety and depression before they become more complex.
The service will support islanders aged 18 and over and will initially open from 10:00 to 22:00, but the Government said this may change depending on islanders’ needs.
Those in need of support will also be able to book counselling sessions three days a week from 16:00 to 21:00.
Pictured: The 'Listening Lounge' will be based at Charles House on Charles Street.
The facility will be staffed by clinicians who will oversee the day-to-day running of the service, while peer support staff will bring additional insights through their lived experience of mental health difficulties.
Health and Community Services will be providing supervision and the scheme will be overseen by a cross-agency management board.
The pilot scheme, which will run until 31 December 2020, aims to reduce pressure on Jersey Talking Therapies, as it will enable people to seek help at an early stage.
“This is a really exciting initiative. The opening of the Listening Lounge shows that mental health services for islanders are being put on a par with services for physical health," Dr Miguel Garcia, Head of Mental Health for Health and Community Services, said.
"It’s an important service, in a great location, for people who need it. We all hope that this pilot scheme, which is provided free of charge, will show islanders that we are serious about taking action and helping people look after their mental health needs."
Pictured: Dr Miguel Garcia, Head of Mental Health for Health and Community Services.
“Typically, people wait about 12 months before seeking help which results in a simple problem becoming more complex and requiring more specialist support," Dr Garcia added. "I would urge anyone who is concerned about their mental health to seek help before their issue becomes more complex.”
Islanders can refer themselves to the Listening Lounge and if an assessment finds they need more specialist help they will be directly referred to Jersey Talking Therapies without having to go through their GP.
Third sector organisations including Mind Jersey, the Jersey Recovery College, Samaritans, The Salvation Army and Silkworth Trust will also be involved in helping shape the Listening Lounge, which will adapt according to service users’ needs.
People who use the Listening Lounge will also be signposted to initiatives run by third sector organisations.
Pictured: Senator Steve Pallett said he was delighted with the launch.
Senator Steve Pallett, the Assistant Minister for Health and Community Services with delegated responsibility for Mental Health, first mentioned the scheme in a States Assembly sitting last month.
He described the upcoming launch as an "important step in both reducing the stigma surrounding mental health and in recognising the importance of improving mental health services in Jersey, to ensure real parity with Islanders’ physical health."
"I am delighted with this initiative," he added. “The Council of Ministers recognises the importance of investing in the Island’s mental health estate and operations to ensure islanders in need can engage the best possible care.
"Hopefully this free pilot scheme will play a vital role in enabling residents to seek early help, while also informing Government about the longer term need for the Listening Lounge.”
Pictured: L.I.N.C has signed a 14-month contract with HCS to launch the 'Listening Lounge.'
L.I.N.C, a specialist mental health and wellbeing provider in Jersey owned by LV Home Care Ltd, has signed a 14-month contract with Health and Community Services to launch the facility which will provide islanders with free help.
Lucy Nicolaou, Head of Services for LINC, said they were delighted to launch the service.
"We recognise the need for islanders who are experiencing early signs of mental health issues to receive free and accessible mental health support.
“The Listening Lounge will focus on early intervention, in addition to wider choice and self-referral options to help prevent problems escalating. Our aim is to improve outcomes for islanders who access the scheme and in turn reduce the demand and utlisation of other services that are currently struggling to meet the needs of the community.”
Pictured: Jersey's government has pledged £5.5m to make improvements to mental health services.
The announcement of the launch on World Mental Health Awareness Day comes a few months after the government pledged £5.5m to make improvements to Orchard House, Clinique Pinel, Rosewood House and La Chasse, in a bid to bring inpatient and outpatient services up to modern standards.
It followed the publication of a critical report of the island’s mental health service which found Orchard House to be in a highly “dilapidated” state, with the rooms inside described as being similar to “prison cells”.
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