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A mental health non-profit has announced that several ‘Safe Havens’ locations are set to open across the North East – to address the increasing need for out-of-hours, in-person support for those in mental health crisis.

Everyturn Mental Health provides its Together in a Crisis services (TIAC) across the North East – offering immediate, practical support to people experiencing mental health crisis. However, year-on-year, the TIAC service has seen a 42% increase in its referrals, with Northumbria Police also reporting a 152% rise in mental health-related incidents over the last year.

To help meet increasing demand and to make support more accessible, Everyturn is partnering with North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board (ICB), to open dedicated locations for people in mental health crisis to receive support in a safe and comfortable environment. These services will deliver on the NHS Long Term Plan’s national priority to prevent suicide via alternative specialist services delivered by the voluntary sector, as well as the ICB’s strategy to help reduce the impact of suicide and self-harm in the region.

Pasha Tanriverdi, Head of Service Development at Everyturn Mental Health, said: “The lasting impact of Covid and the cost-of-living crisis has put the people of the North East under immense pressure, so it is vital that support, based in the community, is there for those who need it.

“It is important that organisations work together to help our local people, and by partnering with the NHS to open these innovative Safe Havens across the North East, we are ensuring that people in mental health crisis have access to the right support at the right time.”

£1m is being invested into the project by NHS England, with the first ‘Safe Haven’ set to open in Ashington later this year, with other locations including Newcastle and North Tyneside to follow. The services will also create 10 new roles in North Tyneside and Northumberland and over 2,000 people will be helped by each haven every year.

Samantha Allen, North East and North Cumbria ICB’s Chief Executive, said: “Providing a place in the community for people to receive help with their mental health is often better than a medical setting like A&E.

“We are determined to support people to access support and reduce suicide rates across our communities with better access to support and working with our partners to address the wider causes that impact people’s mental health, like housing, loneliness, employment, alcohol or money worries.”

The ‘Safe Havens’ will be open seven days a week and will be based in Voluntary Community Social Enterprise (VCSE) local community spaces. These spaces will enable people to access specialist mental health support when it’s most needed and will act as an extension to the existing TIAC services. The opening of the ‘Safe Havens’ will also help to reduce barriers to crisis support, alleviate pressures on emergency services, and provide a community location where other local VCSE organisations can provide additional services to people.

Anyone who is struggling with their mental health can talk to their GP or visit www.everyturn.org.

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