Services supporting people with mental health issues across Birmingham and Solihull this winter have been given a funding boost of nearly half a million pounds.

NHS Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), has secured additional funding from NHS England to boost services being provided by Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust; Forward Thinking Birmingham, the city’s mental health partnership for 0-25-year-olds; Solar the Children and Young People’s Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health service in Solihull; charities and third sector organisations.

It is hoped that the £492,000 will also help to reduce pressure on other NHS services, such as A&E, which is often used by people experiencing mental distress.

The funding will go towards supporting:

  • More young people aged 16-25 experiencing mental health crises having round-the-clock care for up to three days at a time, with the provision of an extra community-based bed. This will help free up beds in hospitals’ acute care wards.
  • More people who have been bereaved, having experienced the death of a relative or friend, being supported by Cruse Bereavement Care, the charity dedicated to supporting children, young people and adults.
  • More people, including those who are homeless, who are experiencing a mental health crisis having a secure place to stay for a short while thanks to a rise in supported accommodation places. These will reduce the likelihood of people having to go to A&E, reducing pressure during a busy time of year.
  • More people being able to receive mental health advice and support over the phone, due to increased levels of staffing for Birmingham and Solihull’s Community Mental Health Teams’ crisis helpline.
  • More children and young people accessing Solar in Solihull by offering appointments on Saturdays.
  • More people being able to access talking-therapy sessions, which will be delivered by several providers including Living Well Consortium and Change Brief Therapy.

Joanne Carney, NHS Birmingham and Solihull CCG’s Director of Joint Commissioning responsible for mental health said: “Winter is a tough time for many of us, especially for those vulnerable to mental distress.

“This funding award is great news for Birmingham and Solihull and will mean we can do more for more people. The extra levels of support and care we will be able to provide will also relieve pressure on services that experience increased demand at this time of year.”

Helen Wadley, Chief Executive Officer of Birmingham Mind, added: “I am really pleased that Change Brief Therapy and Cruse Birmingham are both part of Birmingham’s Winter Pressure successful bid.

“Third sector organisations came together really quickly and came up with innovative pathways to add value to the support Birmingham Mind already delivers through its Crisis Cafes.”

Giles Tinsley, programme director for mental health at NHS England and NHS Improvement in the Midlands said: “Mental health is a key priority for the NHS, as laid out in the Long Term Plan, so we are delighted to see health systems like Birmingham and Solihull working together to provide the very best care in this area for their most vulnerable patients.

“These ambitious plans, set out by the CCG and its partners, will have a huge impact on the people they serve, all while reducing pressure at an incredibly busy time for our urgent care services. We are pleased to have been able to grant this funding, and will continue to support the systems’ work to ensure its safe and effective delivery.”

Elaine Murray, Associate Director of Operations, Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The winter pressure funding will enable Solar to provide appointments on a Saturday that will ensure a flexible offer for families who are unable to take time out of work or school.”