Manchester’s first ever Section 136 Suite opens its doors this week for anyone in the city who has been detained by the police under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act (1983), and are in mental health crisis.
A Section 136 Suite offers a place of safety, where individuals can be assessed by mental health professionals in a safe and appropriate setting. The Suite in Manchester is based at Park House, on the North Manchester General Hospital site.
When police officers attend an incident where they suspect an individual is suffering from a mental health problem and who may inflict harm on themselves or others, the Suite is a calming and welcoming place where dedicated mental health staff will assess and provide interventions and treatment to support the individual to access the help they need.
Neil Thwaite, Chief Executive of Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are so proud to have opened the Section 136 Suite in Manchester. When someone is in a mental health crisis, it is vital they get access to support and care as soon as possible. By coming straight to our expert staff who have a wealth of experience in mental health crisis work, the outcomes for the individual are infinitely better, than spending time in a police cell or a busy A&E department. It gives people that extra privacy and dignity at a time when they need it most. I am also extremely proud of all the teams across the Trust, as we well as our commissioners and Greater Manchester Police who worked tirelessly to make the Suite a reality. This is team work at its best.”
Professor Craig Harris, Executive Nurse and Director of Safeguarding for Manchester Health and Care Commissioning was one of a number of key stakeholders who were given a tour of the new facility. He commented, “This positive environment will make a huge difference to people who will be receiving care here. It is much safer and calming than an emergency setting and gives people the best start to receive the treatment they need. I am really impressed with the Suite and its staff - it sets the right tone for how mental health care should be delivered.”
Detective Chief Inspector Sara Wallwork of Greater Manchester Police said, “This is an excellent facility that provides the perfect pathway for vulnerable people in crisis who require both an urgent and thorough assessment of their mental health needs.
“Police officers are not always the best people to help someone experiencing mental health crisis and seeing a uniform can often cause further distress. It is essential we work in partnership with mental health professionals at the earliest opportunity to ensure the most appropriate outcome for the individuals involved.”
Watch the virtual tour below for a look around the facility: