Serenity Integrated Mentoring is an approach for professionals to support the very small number of people in every community struggling with complex mental health disorders who are handled by emergency services often, whilst making limited progress towards recovery. It involves pairing staff from a police background with mental health clinical staff to go and meet with someone regularly over a long period of time, at times when they are not in immediate crisis.
It does not replace emergency interventions such as street triage, or take over from the normal mental health care and social services available, but may help to improve someone’s willingness and ability to engage with the services that can help them.
Approaching those who have frequent crises with high risk behaviour and offering combined psychological and behavioural support has shown in pilots to drastically reduce the need for admission or emergency intervention under Section 136 of the mental health act, and often leads to better outcomes for the individuals involved in areas such as employment and relationships.
The NHS plan to introduce the SIM model of care across London, and although it will only initially affect a small number of service users, mainly those with Personality Disorder and high intensity needs, it is thought it will offer a more effective use of resources, and over time can be applied more broadly. To start with SW London St Georges Trust are beginning to implement SIM in Richmond and Kingston, with other boroughs to follow suit over the next few years.
A member of Sutton 1 in 4 Network was involved as a service user representative in SW London and St Georges Trust planning process in March and April, at both the Trust HQ and at the SIM Training in Westminster. The Trust gave a presentation to a wider Audience at a venue in Wimbledon in July.
Generally, this was well received, although there were questions about why other services were failing to help the intended recipients of SIM, and being so narrowly focussed whether this would have any impact on the majority of service users. Some who attended were curious about how diversity was going to be taken into account when this is implemented in different London Boroughs.