BURTON’S mental health trust looks set to come into contact with more patients with mental health issues this year than since at least 2010.
The South Staffordshire and Shropshire NHS Foundation Trust’s crisis team has been refereed to an average of 485 mentally ill patients in each month of 2013-14.
An average of 4,219 referrals have also been made each month to the trust’s non-crisis mental health community teams in the same period.
The figures mean the trust’s crisis team will have treated about 5,820 patients, and it’s non-crisis services about 50,628 patients, by the end of March if the trend continues.
This would be the highest number of referrals made to the trust since at least 2010-11.
The Mail obtained the figures through a Freedom of Information request which showed how many mental health referrals the trust had received each month since April 2010.
The trust told the Mail this year’s large caseload was down it taking on patients from another organisation and more prominence given to care in the community services.
Lisa Agell, on of the trust’s mental health leaders, said: “We have invested time working with the emergency services to increase the awareness of our mental health provision.
“This means people can be referred to us in a timely manner, at the point time that is most crucial for them.”
Ms Agell said it has also been made easier for patients to refer themselves for treatment from community services.
She said: “Crisis teams will always have a place but we intend to keep crisis referrals as low as possible and support those who need help before they get to a crisis point.”
A spokesman from the trust said anyone with concerns about their mental health, or that of a relative or friend, should get in touch with their GP.
Care in the community services include the Burton support group Changes, in Branston Road.
Barbara Wain, who co-founded the charity told the Mail its service was designed to be easy for patients to access.