Mental health crisis home treatment team cases up 17%

The number of referrals to mental health crisis teams in Wales has risen by 17% in the last three years.

Crisis Resolution Home Treatment (CRHT) teams help people who might otherwise need to go to hospital, because of severe self-harm or suicide attempts.

New figures show referrals rose from 16,508 in 2014/15 to 19,269 in 2017/18.

The Welsh Government said it invests in crisis and out-of-hours services but charity Mind Cymru wants more support for people before they reach a crisis.

The crisis teams include mental health professionals, nurses, social workers and support workers.

Georgia Lawson, 27, from Welshpool, has borderline personality disorder, OCD, anxiety and depression.

She has called on crisis teams, as well as emergency services, a number of times when she has been at her lowest ebb.

‘Almost unbearable’

“At its worst, [my mental health] almost made life unbearable,” she said. “I self-harmed for about 11 years in total. It got really bad and I was suicidal.

“I attempted to take my life multiple times and I was in and out of A&E.

“Mood swings are probably one of the hardest things about borderline personality disorder and I was all over the place. I could go from being ok to I want to kill myself in 10 minutes. It was really rough.”

Ms Lawson was supported by her friends, received help from the local mental health team and a local mental health drop in centre.

She said life was much better now – she volunteers for two mental health services and is studying for a degree with the Open University.

She said more needs to be done before people reach crisis point.

“There seems to be a gaping hole between community and inpatient services,” she added. “Crisis teams fill it slightly, but there’s only so much they can do.

“If resources, waiting lists and therapies were more readily available… If people can work through their issues first, things won’t get to boiling point.”

Sara Moseley, director of Mind Cymru, said people could find it “incredibly difficult” to access services until they were extremely unwell.

“More investment is needed in this area and I think we do know that if people are helped earlier on, if they have the right help in terms of crisis, people get better and live good lives,” she said.

“It’s much more cost effective to help people before they get to that point of crisis.”

A Welsh Government spokesman said improving these services was a priority in its £7m mental health transformation and innovation fund.

He added: “This will also be a priority area for investment as part of the additional £35m that we announced in our draft budget for mental health and learning disabilities.”

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BBC News – Health