The free drop-in service is the first in the town and is being provided by mental health charity Mind BLMK, in partnership with East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT) which provides NHS mental health services in Luton.
The sanctuary operates with the ethos ‘no one has to experience a mental health problem alone’ and will run from 4pm-10pm.
It opened its doors at ResoLUTiONs Hub in Castle Street, Luton on Monday, March 20, 2023.
The service is available on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, and will soon extend to open seven days a week.
Mind BLMK has described the sanctuary as a safe, non-judgemental space that young people can visit if they find themselves in crisis or mental distress in the evenings. There is no need to call in advance or book an appointment.
Visitors will be met by a trained mental health worker who will listen and help you identify ways to address the problems you are facing. The teams will also be able to refer and signpost to other services if required.
Rachel Hopkins MP for Luton South, Mind BLMK chief executive Caroline Lewis and Jo Meehan, ELFT Associate Director, Bedfordshire & Luton CAMHS, cut a ribbon to officially launch the sanctuary.
“The sanctuary model has been co-produced with young people who use mental health services to ensure it provides the help, support and environment that works for them when they need urgent mental health care,” said Jo Meehan.
“It is part of an extended mental health crisis support service, which also includes 24hr mental health crisis support for children and young people via NHS 111 in Bedfordshire and Luton.
“We are here whenever young people need to reach out for urgent help and support.”
Sanctuaries for Central Bedfordshire and Bedford are also set to be launched over the coming months.