How the Crisis Pad continue to provide support to those who need it most during lockdown

Published: 31 March 2021 to 31 December 2098

The Crisis Pad is a safe place for people aged 18 and above in Hull and the East Riding, who are experiencing emotional crisis or distress and who require a safe, calm environment to aid their recovery.

Working in partnership with Humbercare, we support adults in providing a sanctuary for individuals experiencing a mental health crisis. 

We spoke to Cassy Lawson, Service Manager at the Crisis Pad, who told us all about the service and how the team managed to continue the provision of service during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Working in the Crisis Pad involves providing out of hours mental health support from 6pm until 2am daily. Individual are referred to us by the Mental Health Response Service and we provide low level interventions to prevent the need for further intervention and hospitalisation.

When the pandemic began, we looked at our service and worked collaboratively to discuss how we could stay open whilst also keeping ourselves and our service users safe. We saw similar services across the country starting to close, but we knew there must be a way we could continue to work with our service users, albeit perhaps in a different way.

We were dedicated to exploring new avenues alongside our commissioners and discussing the different possibilities. At times it felt like change was going to be impossible, but when we worked began to develop a strategy we knew we would work it out together as a team.

We’re very proud of those steps we took at the very beginning in order to stay open and to continue to provide support to those who need it.

When we look at the number of people we’ve seen during the pandemic, things haven’t changed too much to what we experienced prior. However, in terms of service delivery, many things changed and at a rapid pace. In a lot of ways, it felt like we had created a brand new service overnight.

We used to do a lot of shared activities with service users, including things like crafts and board games, but unfortunately these were no longer possible due to infection prevention and control reasons. We worked really hard to find new ways of keeping service users engaged, without compromising staff and patient safety.

Operationally we also had to make a vast number of changes in the very beginning, as the building itself can only hold a certain amount of people to maintain social distancing. This meant that we had to adapt our service and create two different time slots throughout the evening, in which service users can come and receive support.

While this change was challenging at first, staff have since fed back that this is a huge improvement, and one that they did not expect. The two groups per evening approach has allowed for improved one-to-one interventions, as staff have found themselves with more time to pay their undivided attention to each individual, rather than working with one larger group throughout the entire evening.

We’re pleased to have seen so many positive changes come as a result of these circumstances; it has been rewarding to hear from both staff and service users how much they recognise the value of our service, and we will take many learnings along with us into the future.

As I look back on the second wave, I realise how far we’ve come and that really is credit to the fantastic team at the Crisis Pad. Without their ideas and commitment to the service, we may have had to close like so many others across the country.

We’ve established a routine that we now consider our ‘new normal’. Many of the changes made at the beginning have continued as they’re working so well, and we will likely continue a lot of these elements into the future, even when the effects of Coronavirus are no longer as prominent.

I think I speak on behalf of the team when I say we’re all just really grateful to our service users for being understanding and working with us on this to make sure we’re doing things as well as we possibly can. We work really transparently with them and their feedback throughout the last year has been, and will continue to be, very important.

If I could give one piece of advice to other teams who are facing the ongoing challenges of Covid-19, it would be to work in collaboration with your service users. We always explain the why and the how, we don’t expect them to always understand right away but we never just say ‘this is how it is and that is that’. We believe we work so well as a team and as a service because of this ongoing collaboration, and we know from service user feedback that it is equally appreciated on both sides.

We’re also just really thankful to have been able to continue coming into work at this time. None of us could imagine having to work from home and we are glad we managed to still see our colleagues at work and feel at least one sense of normalcy at this time.

 

“This whole experience has been tough for everybody, but humans can do tough things.”

 

If I have learned anything over the past year it’s that nothing has to be set in stone. We completely changed our service delivery and it turned out really well. That’s something we just never expected to be possible, and we certainly didn’t expect it to be such a positive experience. It just goes to show that you don’t know what you’re capable of until you have little choice.

This experience has also reaffirmed the importance of our service and how much mental health services in the area are needed and valued. Thank you to every member of the team, the Trust and the commissioning group who made it all possible for us, and to Mental Health Response Service and Infection Prevention and Control teams for their ongoing support, we couldn’t have done any of this without the collaboration and effort dedicated by each and every one of you.

  • Summary: