JAMES’ Place, the men’s suicide prevention charity, has accelerated its plans to open a second centre as a virtual service. The charity wants to help respond to the mental health effects of COVID-19 in London, working with East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT).
Having planned to find a building and open a physical service in East London, James’ Place has acted more quickly to open a virtual service first, recognising the demand for suicide prevention work.
The virtual service, led by James’ Place’s London Centre Manager Maria Lee who ran the primary care mental health liaison team at ELFT, has been running a pilot phase since June 2020. Men who are referred to James’ Place are assigned a trained, professional therapist who will deliver a specific programme designed to help men in crisis.
During this first phase, James’ Place London has been taking referrals from the A&E liaison team at ELFT. This has now been extended to the Crisis Line and urgent assessment team from 13 July, meaning that a broader range of men can access the life-saving service.
As the charity works towards opening a physical centre, their intention is to take referrals from a wider range of sources, including GPs, other local services, occupational health teams and student counselling services.
Ellen O’Donoghue, Executive Director of James’ Place, said:
“Our work in Liverpool demonstrates the great value of therapeutic support for men in suicidal crisis, and we are very pleased to be able to offer our services in London. The men who come to us are affected by a range of issues, including debt, loneliness, family breakdown and redundancy, and working with our partners in Hackney and the City, we want to be able to help as many men as possible, as quickly as we can.”
Cllr Chris Kennedy, Cabinet Member for Health in Hackney, said:
“I am delighted that James’ Place has chosen East London for their next centre. The work they do will be a very valuable addition to crisis support in the sub-region for the needs of men with mental health emergencies. Recent events have shown us all in the sector how vital this will be: lives will be saved.”
Dr Chloe Beale, Consultant Liaison Psychiatrist, Homerton Hospital, said:
“We know that far too many men die by suicide, and we also know that many have not felt able to seek support. As Suicide Prevention Lead for East London NHS Foundation Trust, I am delighted to welcome such a valuable resource to the local area at a time of great need. Strong partnerships with third sector organisations like James’ Place are a priority at ELFT, as we recognise the need for a variety of approaches in order to reach as many people as possible.”
Andrew Horobin, Deputy Borough Director for City and Hackney, said:
“We’re very pleased to be working with James’ Place as they open in London. Their unique service is needed now, more than ever, given the increase in men experiencing a mental health crisis. To be able to offer rapid access to intensive support for suicidal men is extremely valuable and ELFT is very excited about this partnership.”