A specialist mental health service in Glasgow working with people who have experienced complex traumatic events has been officially opened ) by Maureen Watt MSP, the Minister for Mental Health.
The Glasgow Psychological Trauma Service is designed to tackle the mental health difficulties associated with experiences such as childhood abuse, war, human trafficking, major incidents, or domestic abuse and is expected to see about 600 people annually.
The new service is led by Consultant Clinical Psychologist Dr Lisa Reynolds who was one of the first to be called in to help with the psychological trauma experienced by victims of both the Clutha helicopter crash and George Square bin lorry incident.
Opened last May, the service brings together specialist resources from five different areas of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) to deliver a single “complex trauma” unit on a single site in the Anchor Centre.
Mental health services are also delivered on behalf of the Scottish Government for survivors of trafficking and for in-care survivors of childhood abuse. It also brings together expertise in working with young people, homeless individuals and female offenders who all have an increased risk of experiencing complex trauma.
During her visit, the minister met with consultants, art psychotherapy and occupational therapy staff, and service users before joining the rest of the team to perform the official opening.
Maureen Watt MSP, said: “I am delighted to officially open this important service. Any one of us could go through a traumatic experience at any time. In order to come to terms with what’s happened, people often need very specific support and counselling.
“The specialist services on offer at Anchor House will be of enormous help in improving the mental health of people who are coping with trauma.
“Improving mental health services is a priority of the Scottish Government. We will be shortly be setting out our plans for how to do this over the next decade in our new strategy for mental health.”
John Brown, NHSGG chairman, said: “The Glasgow Psychological Trauma Service specifically targets those most in need and those people whose world is turned suddenly upside down following major incidents.
“The Glasgow City HSCP is committed to these vulnerable groups and have responded by consolidating expertise across these specialities to offer a ‘one stop shop’ for psychological trauma and mental health.
“This service is a resource for the whole community offering training and consultation to ensure that the right people get the right help at the right time.
Dr Reynolds said: “The Anchor Centre has been designed with trauma survivors in mind and is welcoming, safe and accessible. It provides a specialist mental health service to these survivors to ensure that they have easy access to high quality, evidence based treatments and interventions.
“We absolutely recognise the impact of psychological trauma following a traumatic event. As a result, we have a staff of 27, including clinical psychologists and occupational therapists, working with these vulnerable groups.”
“An important aspect of our work is that we’re committed to sharing our knowledge and skills to ensure the whole of our Health and Social Care Partnership is trauma informed in order to recognise and respond to psychological trauma.”
Referrals are made to the service through a range of resources including GP, community mental health teams and social work to optimise accessibility.