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22 Apr 2012

Care and co-production in a crisis

A new mental health peer support scheme by VODG member Certitude helps vulnerable people and eases pressure on emergency healthcare.

Alice is usually supported by her community mental health team in Lambeth, south London. But if an anxiety attack strikes at the weekend, thestatutory Monday-Friday support isn't available. Without family or a social network around her, Alice, distressed and in despair, heads to her accident and emergency department (A&E). After an initial assessment, she has to wait to be seen by a psychiatric nurse but what she really needs is social and emotional support. So when she finally sees someone, she is usually sent home. Now, thanks to a new peer support scheme launched by Certitude, Solidarity in a Crisis, when Alice hits this kind of crisis at a weekend, she can ring a dedicated out-of-hours number and receive valuable help.

In a new post, Certitude's Jessica Agudelo explains how Solidarity in a Crisis is co-designed and co-delivered by service users and carers, providing crisis support over the phone or in person on weekends. The service provides phone and outreach support to people in distress with the aim of reducing the number of inappropriate accident and emergency admissions. Agudelo writes: "It's vital to point out that our new service doesn't replace existing medical or health interventions; it's an alternative service offering social and emotional support by peers."

Read Jessica's Full Blog Post