Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
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Mental Health Liaison Team

Who is our service for?

Our team is based at the Emergency Department, in the Oak Unit, at Sandwell General Hospital. Here we provide help for adults from 18 years upwards attending the centre who may have mental health problems or difficulties.

How do we help?

We are a team of four mental health nurses, with a specialist knowledge base, linking in with a psychiatrist when required. We work mainly in Sandwell General Hospital’s Emergency Department but also accept referrals from the main wards at the hospital.

We help people who come into the Emergency Department who may have a mental health problem. For instance, if someone has attempted suicide we will assess the person’s mental health needs and try to ensure a safe discharge from the emergency care services.

We also provide a follow-up service for people who attend with a self-harm episode but are discharged by the medical team. This can be via a telephone call or via an appointment within seven days, if practicable.    

Once the Emergency Department doctor has seen someone, they may ask the person if they want to talk to us. If there is an urgent problem then one of the mental health nurses can see the person there and then. If the person decides they would rather see their GP then they should inform the Emergency Services staff. The Mental Health Liaison Team are currently based in a separate unit – Oak Unit – whereby the assessment can take place, in a calm environment, if able.

When we meet with someone, we try to explore their needs, including their social needs, as we understand the kinds of stressors that can lead to a crisis. If one of the nurses feels it is important, the person may talk to the psychiatrist, rather than one of the nurses. After we have talked with someone, we can give the person advice on what to do next. We may refer the person to one of our services, or other local services. For instance, we may put someone in touch with one of our community-based teams, or with local services such as SOADA [Sandwell Organisation against Domestic Abuse] or Swanswell (support for people with drug, alcohol or gambling dependencies).  

 We understand that sometimes as people age, mental health difficulties can be complicated as a consequence of physical health problems. If you have been admitted to the main wards, the team will assess, guide and support you as an inpatient at Sandwell General Hospital. We will then work towards a safe discharge.
We can also provide advisory support and guidance to medical and nursing teams working in other areas of Sandwell General Hospital if someone is finding the experience of staying in hospital for medical care difficult.  

How do you access or refer into our service?

Access to the service can be made by any professional who has direct links with all healthcare teams at Sandwell General Hospital. If someone is distressed mentally and emotionally and has expressed ideas of self-harm, we will offer the person an opportunity to talk to a team member.

We ask the responsible referrer to ensure that the patient is medically fit for discharge.  Referrals can be made to the team verbally or via phone or fax.

What happens in an emergency?

When someone is in the Emergency Services Centre, then the most important thing is looking after their physical health. Once the person’s physical health is stable, one of our Primary Care Liaison Teams or the Crisis and Home Treatment Team can help them through the emergency. Where possible, we will work together with these two teams to agree a safe discharge plan.

If the person is over 65, we can refer the person into specific specialist services in the community, in accordance with the person’s needs.

What about carers and families?

The Trust has a Carers’ Team who can support carers of adults with mental health problems. We can help a carer get in touch with this team. We have also developed links with the older adult support agencies in the community about providing extra support for carers.  

How do you reach us?

We are open Monday to Friday, from 9.00am to 5.00pm.

Sandwell Accident and Emergency Department
Sandwell General Hospital
West Bromwich
B71 4HJ
Tel: 0121 507 3258 or 0121 553 1831 and ask for bleep 6300 or 6654 [ Older adult contact]

Fax: 0121 507 3227 Click here to find Google Map directions to the Mental Health Liaison Team