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Together to support individuals experiencing mental distress to reduce crisis contact with emergency services in York

Posted on 20, May 2015

Together has launched a new service in York that works alongside individuals who frequently contact emergency services when experiencing mental distress.

The York Pathways Service works with vulnerable individuals to understand their distress and develop resources to support them to take steps towards improving their health and wellbeing. The service also works strategically with the emergency services and other key organisations to develop ways in which they can work together more effectively and as a result help prevent individuals from reaching crisis point.

Distress often occurs alongside a range of other disadvantaging factors including substance misuse, trauma, abuse or homelessness. The service provides holistic assessments of each individual’s needs, addressing both practical and psychological aspects in order to tackle the problems at the root of a person’s distress. The service also works with local community services to help people engage positively with support and therefore help to prevent future crises.

Together brings to the project a wealth of expertise and unique ways of working with people who are multiply disadvantaged and experience particular difficulties in accessing support. For example, each person that York Pathways supports is encouraged to identify the three hardest things that are currently making their lives difficult. The highly experienced staff team will then work with them to build their own resources and resilience in order to overcome these issues.

Working seven days a week, including during the evenings, the Pathways team works alongside up to 25 individuals at any one time. By focusing on people’s strengths and providing support that helps them to build positive relationships and networks, they will be better equipped to cope with life’s challenges, manage their mental wellbeing and ultimately reduce their use of emergency services. In addition to the benefit to the individual, money will be saved through a reduction in the number of calls to emergency services, which in some cases can cost up to £40,000 per individual.

The service will be run by Together in collaboration with LankellyChase Foundation, Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), City of York Council (CYC), Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, North Yorkshire Police and other critical health and social care partners. Together will also work closely with these partners to facilitate joint strategic planning about individuals needs and as a result enable collaborative commissioning and development of services across the whole system that better meet the needs of these vulnerable individuals.

The York Pathways service builds on the success of a similar Pathways service Together runs in Rotherham, which is adapted to meet the needs of the local area. This service has now been running for over a year and offers support to vulnerable young adults aged 17-24, in contact with police and emergency services.

Liz Felton, CEO of Together said: “We know that often people make contact with emergency services when they reach crisis point, but that often these services are unable to provide the support they need. Our service in York aims to redirect them to more appropriate support and really get to the bottom of what is behind their distress, so that steps can be taken to improve their situation.

“We believe that individuals are experts in knowing what works best for them. This service is designed to be flexible and allow people to define their own goals and the type of support they receive. We hope that the service will equip them with the tools they need to enable them to lead their own journey to wellbeing.”

Deputy Chief Constable Tim Madgwick of North Yorkshire Police, said: “The launch of York Pathways is very welcome news for the residents of York and for the agencies who come into contact with people who are mentally distressed.

“The police are not the right organisation to provide support for anyone with mental health problems and it is vital that anyone in such a vulnerable position receives the support and advice of appropriate professionals. We are pleased to be working with the Pathways  team and look forward to seeing the long-term benefits of the scheme.”

For further information please contact the service directly by calling 07711072784 or 07889088096, or emailing