A new specialist hub cafe that is also the first of its kind in the UK offering support to young people experiencing mental health issues has opened in Ealing.
The Circle cafe located at 46 South Ealing Road, W5 4QA is being delivered by Hammersmith, Fulham, Ealing and Hounslow Mind (HFEH Mind) in partnership with the North West London CAMHS Provider Collaborative led by West London NHS Trust.
The cafe, offers both drop-in and appointment-based support 365 days a year and is open between 3pm-11pm on weekdays and 12-8pm on weekends.
Circle has been launched as an 18 month pilot with a view to rolling it out to other locations across North West London.
According to HFEH Mind, the aim of the Circle initiative is to relieve pressure on local A&E departments as well as providing a better environment for young people to get support. In London during 2021, 50% of young people who attended A&E experiencing a mental health crisis were deemed not to require hospital treatment at that time and were then discharged home.
Young people can self refer or be referred to the Circle by school, social care, A&E, or CAMHS crisis services.
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.
Ms Owusu added: “We’ve seen a big increase in children and young people going to A&E with mental health problems in the last 10 years – but for many of them, A&E isn’t the right place. They don’t require hospital treatment; they need support from trained mental health practitioners to de-escalate in that moment of crisis or distress, and this is where Circle comes in.”
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”.