Community care – safe, successful, and cost-effective treatment pathways for people with mental health problems

About Bridge, Info for Commissioners

Where is the best place for people with mental health problems to get support on their journey to recovery? 

For some, hospital-based treatment pathways are the perfect fit, but this isn’t the case for everyone. Often, people with mental health problems remain in hospital because there aren’t viable alternatives.   

The truth is many individuals shouldn’t be in hospital. They are often stuck on pause – ready to move on but without the moving parts needed to take the next steps.  

The NHS is overburdened on an unprecedented scale. We need to find another way to support individuals with mental health problems. 

At Bridge, we understand the complexity of providing mental health services that serve the needs of the individual in a health care system under pressure due to increasing demand and shrinking budgets. 

Our results show that many people thrive in a community setting, and with the right frameworks in place, community mental health services can be safe, successful, and cost-effective. We’ll be exploring this in detail over the next 8 weeks and we hope you join us on the journey. 

We’d also love you to help us raise awareness about this important issue. Please share this post with your network. 

One size doesn’t fit all 

No two patient circumstances or journeys to recovery are the same. One size does not and should not fit all. A flexible pathway designed to meet the client’s needs – whatever stage they are at with their recovery – is key. Our framework for our support considers:  

  • The client’s view of themselves 
  • Integration with fellow community support providers and clinical teams 
  • The skills and experience of the Bridge team 
  • Robust risk management and planning 

There is a wealth of proven community care treatment options available at a fraction of the cost of those within hospitals.  

Bridge Support community led treatment pathways 

All our community led services are built on a foundation of continuous development through shared learning and practice with the Bridge team, with people who have lived experiences of mental health problems, and our partnerships with leaders in the field of mental health. 

  • Our 24 Hour Support provides facilities for clients to focus on building the skills and resilience necessary to successfully transition to independent living. After leaving a secure unit such as a hospital, clients often need an intensive level of continued support in a 24-hour facility. There is also a need from clients living in the community who suffer a relapse.  
  • Our Medium Support service is designed for clients moving on from 24-hour or high-dependency mental health services and provides a gradual entry back to independent living. Even those who are ready to take a step towards independence will require significant help to stay on the road to recovery. If the steps taken are too big or too fast, setbacks including relapse and readmittance are more likely. 
  • Our Flexible Support service bridges the gap between medium support and independent living. For clients on the road to independence, often a few hours of support each week is needed to continue a recovery journey. Or following independent living, a setback might have been experienced and help is needed to get things back on track. In the absence of the right support being available, there’s a risk of recovery re-routing back to square one.   
  • Our Women Only services create a safe space, exclusively for women. Mental health conditions in women can be compounded by other issues such as rough sleeping, homelessness, and domestic violence which can make it extremely difficult to build trust when working with male support workers. This can prove detrimental to recovery but our women only service circumvents this, allowing clients to focus on developing the skills and resilience our clients need to live independent, fulfilled lives in the community. 
  • Our Forensic Support service, Tilt, is a residential facility with proven recovery pathways that provide support for ex-offenders working towards independent living in the community. Clients with mental health problems who have committed serious offences need somewhere within the community to stay safely upon release from prison. When the right support needed to integrate within the community isn’t available, it can lead to reoffending and can make the journey to recovery seem impossible. 
  • Our Housing Management service focuses on providing safe, high-quality accommodation combined with support to aid recovery. Vulnerable people often need a fresh start in a new area but struggle to find high-quality housing and maintain their tenancy which can make recovery from mental health problems challenging. Research shows that living in safe, well maintained housing has a profound effect on mental health. 
  • The Recovery College provides courses and workshops to support personal recovery from mental ill health or co-occurring drug and alcohol misuse. It is designed to help people to go beyond clinical recovery towards living a full and fulfilling life. 

Cost-effective and successful

Frankly speaking, community care services are cheaper – and they work, saving the NHS much needed time, resource, and money. We will be exploring this more over the coming weeks. Here is just one example: 

Placement in a medium secure hospital can cost up to £185,000 per person per year with the burden on the taxpayer increasing each time they are readmitted. By contrast, Tilt, part of our Forensic Support Service, costs up to £110,000 less per person per year. In addition, with over 50 percent of people released from UK prisons reoffending in the first year, Tilt has a low reoffending rate of 1.58 per cent per year for the last 5 years.  

We need you 

You may be reading this and thinking that you’d like to help but don’t know how. One thing you can do is shine a spotlight on the limited and often unsuitable options many people with long term mental health problems currently face. There are better, more cost-effective treatment pathways available which could result in many positive outcomes. By sharing, responding, and commenting, the ripples will cast out wide. The first step towards change is generating awareness. 

For more information about Bridge community mental health services, visit our website, or contact us. Thank you for your support.  

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24 Hour Support

Medium Support

Flexible Community Support

Forensic Services

Recovery College

Women Only

  • How you can work with us

    As well as the normal tendering process, you can commission our services in the following ways:

    • Use our contact form
    • Pick up the phone to speak to us on 020 8298 9677
    • Email us to discuss spot contracting OR delivery of a bespoke service that meets your need