The Warren by Rob Bayley
Posted by Admin
21st Feb 2018

The current state of excessive demand upon mental health provision may be addressed by a model of certain simplicity. A sanctuary where mental distress can be eased and strategies implemented to reintroduce the individual back into society without the need for hospitalisation. A place where equilibrium is restored and the mind rejuvenated.

My experience of this facility was entirely positive. I was overwhelmed by a floridly psychotic episode, defined by extreme paranoia. Put simply, I was unable to cope with the demands of life in the community. Because of this manifestation of my diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia, I was left broken and tormented. Thankfully I was, and to the present day, looked after by a dedicated and supportive team of consultants, doctors and nurses. Their response to my predicament was however, to refer me to a Crisis house, called ‘The Warren,’ located in an innocuous cul-de-sac, set on the perimeter of my home town of Northampton. The difference between here and a hospital ward was immediately apparent. There were no nurses, but rather support workers. The self-administering of medication was encouraged, and we as users of the services were involved in the preparation of meals, with appropriate support. Our individual experiences of mental disorder were confronted in a proactive manner, with the aim of establishing these methods when back in the home environment. The overall ambience was calming, restorative and conducive to wellbeing. Everyone is treated as unique, so their care plan reflects this. The focus is on contributory factors, with no prerequisite as to who can be treated within the unit. The ethos is based on collaborative interaction. Even people with substance addictions can be admitted, with the aim of stabilising their condition. The length of stay is limited to seven nights, and the bed capacity is three male and four female, or vise versa. This affords an intensive scope of therapy between user and support worker. As a consequence, rehabilitation takes significantly less time and the success rate of this approach is undeniable.

The original concept of this facility was developed by the local Crisis Care Concordant. They in turn liaised with and consulted the police, ambulance, A and E and mental health services, and crucially, service users, in accordance with their needs and care. The necessary finance was sourced from the appropriate Clinical Commission Groups. What ‘The Warren’ provides is a bespoke service for those who can have their distress contained within a comparatively short duration, and then be reintroduced into their place in society, with the strength to cope with their illnesses. In today’s political climate, not only does the user benefit, but also resources are put under considerably less strain, as the current demand on hospital admissions could be significantly less. This retreat can, and does help ease the burden on mental health provision, its disparity of cost being freed up for those where hospital admission is unavoidable. This facility should be replicated nationwide, as a constructive alternative for those whose distress can be alleviated before escalation into more challenging realms. Its effectiveness is as emphatic as it is conclusive.         

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