Community Mental Health Service
Information for service users, carers and the public
During the Coronavirus pandemic we had to change the way we provided support to you, in order to keep you and our members of staff safe. This meant limiting the amount of people we saw face-to-face, and some of our services unfortunately being paused.
We want to update you on our current situation and what to expect.
How will I receive my care?
For the time being, the majority of your contact will be offered by digital methods where possible. This includes telephone, video consultations, and possibly text messaging and email.
If you are given an individual member of staff’s work phone number or email address, the appropriate use of this will be discussed with you.
We will still see people face-to-face where that is needed. Many people may receive a mixture of different contact types.
Keeping us all safe
If you are seen face-to-face, our staff must wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). This could include face mask, apron, gloves and visor / goggles.
You should also wear a face covering unless you are exempt. A face covering should cover your mouth and nose while allowing you to breathe comfortably.
We are unable to see people in some of our buildings at present, and when they do re-open, spaces will be very limited in order to maintain safety in our clinical areas.
If you need a face-to-face appointment but this cannot be done at your home or in an outdoor space, you may be asked to travel to an alternative Trust location to be seen.
What if telephone / video isn’t suitable for me?
You will not be disadvantaged
We recognise that digital doesn’t suit everybody. You may not have the equipment, know how to use it, have private space, or other things that make it difficult for you.
You have a choice
The team should discuss your preferences with you, and agree how you will communicate and receive your care. This can change and be reviewed as part of your care plan.
We can help
We will try to support you in overcoming some of these barriers where we can, so you can receive the same care digitally. This may involve advice and help to get set up online.
Why aren’t things returning to how they were?
Limiting the spread of the virus
We have to take a cautious approach and continue to limit our face-to-face contacts as much as possible to avoid further spread of the virus. This is to keep you, your families, and our staff safe.
We cannot run things such as outpatient clinics as we used to due to the limited space in our buildings. Using digital technologies allows us to still offer those services just in other ways.
Impact of PPE
We know it can be difficult communicating and building a relationship with staff in masks. A video consultation can sometimes be better than a face-to-face appointment in this case, so you can see the professional’s face whilst talking to them.
Many people have found benefits to video and telephone consultations. This includes reduced travel, reduced costs, increased flexibility and more. For this reason it is something we want to continue to offer moving forwards.
We thank you for your patience and understanding.
We’re keen to hear about your thoughts and experiences of your care over recent months. Please consider sparing a few minutes to complete our survey:
or scan the QR code with your smartphone camera.
If you would prefer to receive a paper copy of the survey, please contact the Patient Experience and Involvement Team on the details below.
We are looking for a group of CMHT service users, friends, relatives and carers to be involved in making decisions about how we develop and improve our services. This is especially important following all the recent changes. You can watch a film about why it’s so important for us to get your views:
You could be involved as little or as much as you’d like.
If you’d like to find out more about this project, please contact the Patient Experience and Involvement Team on 0113 855 6840 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the service
The Leeds Community Mental Health Service (CMHS) provides specialist community mental health services for adults usually aged between 18 and 65, although this can vary depending on need.
From April 2019 we now have a dedicated community mental health service for older people aged 65 and over.
The Service is made up two parts
- an access, assessment and brief intervention pathway
- a care programme approach and intervention period
The Access, Assessment and Brief Intervention Pathway lasts up to six weeks. During this time we make a full assessment of a person, followed by short term psychological intervention, supportive advice, transfer or signposting to support that appropriately meets their mental health needs.
The Care Programme Approach & Intervention Period is for people who require a package of care interventions to help support them with their mental health needs, all delivered through an approach we call the Care Programme Approach.
The Care Programme Approach (or CPA) is a package of care for people with mental health problems. You can read more about it on the national NHS website.
Three key aims of the CMHS are:
- To provide support and care with service users and their carers to help identify, develop and improve their mental and related physical wellbeing.
- To work effectively alongside other services and agencies to deliver joined up care for people either in or as close to their own homes as possible.
- To keep people safe by planning and delivering joined up care
What to expect
If you are offered an assessment, we understand you might be anxious about meeting someone new and talking about your mental health, and will not know what to expect. This information has been written to help you prepare for your appointment so you get the most out of it, and to signpost you to some other resources and organisations which could also help.
Please note not everyone who is referred to us will be offered an assessment, but we will always write back to you and the person who referred you with further advice
How long will I have to wait until I see someone?
It can take up to 15 working days to be seen. A member of our team will try to contact you by phone during this time to find out how you are and to ask for some more information to help with the assessment.
Where will I need to go?
We have three community mental health teams (CMHTs) covering Leeds. The locations and contacts for these teams appear on the right of this page (or at the bottom if you’re on a smartphone).
You will be referred to the service which is linked to your GP surgery so it might not be the nearest to where you live. It might be that we see you at one of our bases or at your home, but there are a range of different places we can see you and we will do our best to make sure this is convenient for you. The relevant team will send you an appointment either in the post or via email with information about where to go.
It’s very important to contact the team (or ask someone else to do this if this is difficult for you) to let them know if you can’t make the appointment. Sometimes, if you are not able to leave your house, your assessment can take place at your home.
What will happen at the assessment?
Our colleagues at MindWell have produced this short video on what to expect when you’ve been referred to a community mental health team.
Your first meeting with the CMHT is usually with a mental health nurse, mental health social worker or a community occupational therapist rather than a psychiatrist (mental health doctor). During this appointment we will try to understand what difficulties you might be having together.
Your appointment may last for up to an hour. This is because talking about your mental health is something that can’t be rushed and it’s important that you have the time to share all the information that may be useful.
We understand that you might feel anxious coming to this appointment. Staff are trained and experienced in understanding mental health difficulties and we will treat you in a way that is kind and non-judgemental. You are welcome to bring someone to support you.
The information that you give during the meeting is confidential. We will only share it within the CMHT and with your GP (or with the person who referred you). We do not share your information with other professionals or people unless there is a significant risk to you or you have signed a consent form to say that it is ok to only share information with those involved in your support. We will always inform you if we need to do this.
How can I prepare?
It is important for you to think about what type of support you could find useful. It is understandable that you might not know what could help, so it may be easier for you to think about what your main worries or priorities are, what you would like to achieve, or how things could feel better for you.
Here are three top tips on preparing for your first appointment:
- DocReady is a useful app and can help you to prepare and identify what you feel you need most support with
- We will ask about your current medication, so it will help for you to bring a list of these with you
- You will also be asked to complete a couple of standard forms so please do your best to complete these and bring them to your appointment as it will really help
What happens after my assessment?
One of our team will contact you to talk about the assessment and how you can best be supported. There are lots of different options according to your individual needs. Some of these could include:
- Advice about other services that might be helpful. For example social prescribing, voluntary sector, drug/alcohol services, adult social care etc.
- Safety planning
- Health promotion and lifestyle advice
- Short term therapies such as problem solving, psycho-education, grounding techniques, behavioural activation, graded exposure, distress tolerance, wellbeing plans.
- Medical review of things like diagnosis, physical health, your medications etc.
- Group interventions provided through the Leeds Recovery College and other third sector partners
- Pharmacy liaison
- Psychology consultation of up to five sessions
- Occupational therapy specific assessments such as the Model of Human Occupation Screening Tool (MOHOST)
The Care Programme Approach and Intervention Period
This is where you’ll get a care-coordinator and a care plan. Your care plan is written down and sets out what support you’ll get day to day and who’ll give it to you. It might cover:
- your medicines
- help with money problems
- help with housing
- support at home
- help to get you out and about outside your home
During this time our service will focus on:
- Stabilisation – click to open this document with a table that describes what this means in more detail
- Additional therapies and activities
- Medication and family therapy
This section is for health and care professionals looking to make a referral to the CMHS.
Referrals into the service are either for Assessment, or Care Coordination. All referrals into the CMHS should be made through our Single Point of Access.
Referrals for Assessment
These are accepted from Primary Care, Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust (LTHT) (only via LYPFT Liaison), Adult Social Care, Service Users, Carers/Family, Third Sector Organisations, Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) and the criminal justice system.
Referrals for Community Mental Health Service assessment, which do not require a same day assessment, are made to the Community Mental Health Team with a requirement that the service user is assessed within 15 working days of referral if assessment is required.
Referrals for care coordination
These are accepted from Inpatient services, CRISS, Trust specialist services care group, CAMHS (including Transitions Team), Primary Care Mental Health Liaison Practitioners, Community Mental Health Services both inside and out of the Trust.
Referrals for Care Coordination are to be allocated within 48 hours of receipt of the referral – could be in twice weekly MDT.
Referrals where assessments have already taken place (i.e. by CRISS, ALPs) these are to be allocated for Access & Assessment or Care Coordination. Where recent assessments have been completed, the community mental health team will not duplicate this but may build on this information.
Referrals for care coordination should be seen at the earliest opportunity, and contact with the service user and the ward within 48 hours. There may be occasions where contact with the service user is not possible, therefore contact with the ward is a priority.
Service User Access Criteria
The CMHT accepts referrals for service users with substantial and complex mental health needs which include significant cognitive, emotional and behavioural problems associated with a mental health diagnosis.
The individual is likely to present predominantly with:
- Psychosis, such as schizophrenia or bi-polar disorder (NB Early Intervention in psychosis service assess in the first episode of psychosis)
- Severe depressive disorder where the levels of risk/complexity/engagement require treatment by a specialist mental health service.
- Severe disorders of personality
- Longer term severe disorders which are characterised by poor treatment adherence and increased levels of risk/vulnerability which cannot be managed solely by primary care
- Dual diagnosis of mental illness and substance misuse where the mental illness is the primary need, severe and complex in nature
- Co-morbid mental illness in service users with a neurodevelopmental disorder (in absence of other appropriate services) for treatment of the mental disorder where this is the primary issue
- Co-morbid mental illness in service users with organic conditions (in absence of other appropriate services) for treatment of the mental disorder where this is the primary issue
- Complex presentations associated with severe mental illness, which impacts a significant risk of self-harm, harm to others, risk of harm from others or serious self-neglect
The criteria for the CMHS is applicable to:
- All adults irrespective of gender, age (18 to 64yrs), ethnicity, sexuality, culture or physical abilities
- For those service users aged 18 to 25yrs additional consideration of the working with young adults (Appendix 6) needs to take place
- People who have substantial and complex mental health needs which cannot be met by primary care, the IAPT Service or other community services.
- Service user being safely cared for in the community
- Service user is willing to engage with the service, unless their physical health or mental health is a barrier to this
- Service user is registered with a Leeds GP
What does the service look like?
The Community Mental Health Service is made up six Community Mental Health Teams (CMHTs) aligned to three locality hubs.
Each CMHT is made up of a Clinical Team Manager, psychologists and psychotherapists, support workers, associate practitioners, occupational therapists, nurses, doctors, employment support specialists, social workers and homelessness prevention workers. Each CMHT also has a Lead Psychological Practitioner and Community Mental Health Practitioners.
Advice and support
If a health professional has given you a specific phone number to call when you are concerned about your condition, continue to use that number.
We recommend the following places where you can find helpful and reliable information with links to further help and support.
MindWell is the single ‘go to’ website for information about mental health in Leeds. It includes advice on practical help with things like housing, benefits or money problems.
MindMate is a Leeds-based website for younger people, their families and the professionals who support them. It covers emotional wellbeing and mental health issues and offers information about where support is available.
The National NHS website
The national NHS website (formerly known as NHS Choices) is the official website of the National Health Service in England. It provides a comprehensive health information service helping you to make the best choices about your health and lifestyle, but also about making the most of NHS and social care services in England.
For less urgent health needs, you should contact your GP or a local pharmacist in the usual way. For immediate, life-threatening emergencies, always call 999.
Please note this is not comprehensive list of services but a few suggestions of how to get started finding help and information.
How to contact the service
You can contact us at one of our three locality bases.
Teams covering south Leeds are based at
Aire Court Community Unit
Tel: 0113 85 50600
Teams covering North East Leeds are based at
St Mary’s House
St Mary’s Road
Tel: 0113 85 56150 (East Leeds) & 0113 85 56200 (North East Leeds)
Teams covering North West Leeds are based at
St Mary’s Hospital
Green Hill Road
Tel: 0113 85 50930
How to give feedback about our service
Please speak to your care co-ordinator in the first instance.
If you would prefer to speak to someone else, you can contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS). This is a confidential and free service which can help you find ways to resolve any concerns you may have about services being provided by our Trust.