Posted on: 1 December 2022

Lee Byers, Associate Service Director of Urgent Care, worked a late shift at CNWL's new Mental Health Crisis Assessment Service (MHCAS) on 30 November and had a 121 with a patient - who agreed to share their experience of MHCAS. Read Lee's account below:

They arrived in MHCAS after spending 10 hours in A&E; when they are in a crisis they tend to go to A&E, although dreads going.

As the waits are long and the environment in A&E adds to the anxiety. They described arriving at the MHCAS as being very welcoming, staff with smiles and very clean; immediately assessed and could see that the staff really cared and wanted to help.

They said once they finished the assessment they were offered food and relaxed in the MHCAS suite; the recliner chairs were very comfortable and clean. They hadn’t slept for 72 hours, but had a good 1-2hrs hours sleep a few hours after arriving in MHCAS.

When they were ready to leave, they had five 1-to-1 sessions with various staff and was overwhelmed with the support they were getting - saying, "I’m not used to this."

They were referred to the Hillingdon Crisis House, which they felt was the perfect pathway, after being described what it offers.

They said if ever in a crisis again, they will come to MHCAS instead of A&E as they will be seen straight away, have a full assessment, which is not rushed and they have the freedom to go out for fresh air with the support of staff if needed.

They said,  "This service should have been created years ago."

The Mental Health Crisis Assessment Service is located in St Charles Hospital (North Kensington) and open to referrals from residents in Brent, Kensington & Chelsea, Hillingdon and Westminster or people attending A&E in those areas.

For more information on the service or how to make a referral (including self-referrals) click the link below:

Mental Health Crisis Assessment Service