Project Description

In mental health having safe, supportive, secure housing is essential to an individual’s recovery. Dorset has high housing costs and a lack of affordable rented accommodation. Many individuals in our acute mental health wards have no permanent housing or have lost their existing accommodation.

Some have to return to inappropriate accommodation or to the situation that may have contributed to their admission. This often results in delayed discharge individuals from hospital or placement in temporary or unsuitable accommodation.

In July 2016 we began to work with Bournemouth YMCA on a project to provide semi-supportive accommodation for homeless patients with mental health issues and low support needs. This combines the Trust’s expertise in mental health with the YMCA’s approach to establishing the foundations for people to rebuild their lives.

Funding from Dorset HealthCare gives access to 22 self-contained, fully-equipped studio flats at the Bournemouth YMCA.

An experienced, dedicated member of qualified staff works directly with the YMCA to provide, training, mentoring and guidance, ensuring continuity of care between the two services.

Dorset HealthCare staff provide bespoke training for YMCA staff on mental health issues, self-management and treatments and access to the Recovery Education Centre.

There are multi-disciplinary assessments of people’s needs before placement, with in-reach, preparation & planned visits to YMCA prior to placement. Then through the care coordinator we regularly review individual and service outcomes.

Patients remain under the care of their existing Community Mental Health Team (CMHT) to ensure continuity of care. The type and level of support provided by the YMCA is based on an assessment of their needs and aims to support the individual in their move on to more independent accommodation.

Each person, when discharged, has a co-produced ‘my crisis plan’ which defines what the person is like when they are well, recognises their strengths and resources to stay well, outlines potential relapse signs and identifies a plan of action.

To date we have had a total of 16 people who have used the YMCA – four women and 12 men. The YMCA placements cost £19.07 per day, compared with £427.82 for an inpatient bed.

The 1,689 days our service users have been in the YMCA have cost £32,209. The cost of an inpatient bed for this number of days would be £722,587.98 (although we recognise that homeless individuals would be likely to be discharged within three months due to the complexities of finding appropriate supported accommodation in Dorset).

The YMCA are able to contact the crisis team out of hours and, where needed, for extra mental health support to prevent readmission to hospital. The YMCA and residents can also access Dorset HealthCare’s Dorset Recovery Education Centre training.

Key features

• Co-producing solutions with patients
• Shaping services to support patients into greater independence
• Working in partnership with other specialist organisations