10 October 2019
A dedicated safe place where islanders can access free, early help and support before they reach mental health crisis is due to launch next month. The Listening Lounge, which is due to open its doors on 4 November, will provide islanders free help at a dedicated drop-in facility in a central location.
It is a partnership between Health and Community Services and L.I.N.C, a specialist mental health and wellbeing provider in Jersey. Based in Charles House, Charles Street, St Helier, the facility is a pilot scheme which aims to help islanders with issues such as anxiety and depression before they become more complex.
Its delivery is part of the Government of Jersey’s commitment to delivering the best health care for islanders, with mental health care a priority. A 14-month contract has been signed between the Government of Jersey and L.I.N.C, which is owned by LV Home Care Ltd, part of the LV Care Group.
The facility will be staffed by clinicians who will oversee the day-to-day running of the service, alongside peer support staff who will bring additional insights through their lived experience of mental health difficulties. Health and Community Services will be providing supervision and the scheme will be overseen by a cross-agency management board.
The Listening Lounge will support islanders aged 18 and over and be open for 12 hours a day. The service will initially open from 10 am to 10 pm but this may change depending on islanders’ needs. Bookable counselling sessions will be available three days a week from 4-9pm.
The pilot scheme, which runs until 31 December 2020, aims to reduce pressure on Jersey Talking Therapies, as it will enable people to seek help at an early stage.
The announcement of the pilot scheme coincides with World Mental Health Awareness Day which falls today. And it comes after ministers outlined in the proposed Government Plan 2020-2023 plans to significantly improve access to mental health services.
Dr Miguel Garcia, Head of Mental Health for Health and Community Services, said: “This is a really exciting initiative. The opening of the Listening Lounge shows that mental health services for islanders are being put on a par with services for physical health. It’s an important service, in a great location, for people who need it. We all hope that this pilot scheme, which is provided free of charge, will show islanders that we are serious about taking action and helping people look after their mental health needs.
“Typically, people wait about 12 months before seeking help which results in a simple problem becoming more complex and requiring more specialist support. I would urge anyone who is concerned about their mental health to seek help before their issue becomes more complex.”
Islanders can self-refer to the Listening Lounge and if an assessment finds they need more specialist help they can be directly referred to Jersey Talking Therapies without having to go through their GP.
Third sector organisations including Mind Jersey; the Jersey Recovery College; Samaritans, The Salvation Army and Silkworth Trust will also be involved in helping to shape the Listening Lounge, which will adapt according to service users’ needs. People who use the Listening Lounge will also be signposted to initiatives run by third sector organisations.
Assistant Minister for Health and Community Services with delegated responsibility for Mental Health, Senator Steve Pallett, said: “The upcoming launch of the Listening Lounge is an important step in both reducing the stigma surrounding mental health and in recognising the importance of improving mental health services in Jersey, to ensure real parity with Islanders’ physical health. I am delighted with this initiative.
“The Council of Ministers recognises the importance of investing in the Island’s mental health estate and operations to ensure islanders in need can engage the best possible care. Hopefully this free pilot scheme will play a vital role in enabling residents to seek early help, while also informing Government about the longer term need for the Listening Lounge.”
Lucy Nicolaou, Head of Services for LINC, added: “We are delighted to be launching this service in partnership with Health and Community Services, supported by our partner agencies. We recognise the need for islanders who are experiencing early signs of mental health issues to receive free and accessible mental health support.
“The Listening Lounge will focus on early intervention, in addition to wider choice and self-referral options to help prevent problems escalating. Our aim is to improve outcomes for islanders who access the scheme and in turn reduce the demand and utlisation of other services that are currently struggling to meet the needs of the community.”