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Sunday, 13 July 2014

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New Carlisle clinic for men with severe mental health issues

An intensive rehabilitation unit is being created, which will prevent men with severe mental health issues being sent out of the county for treatment.

The former Syra House building of the Carleton Clinic, on the edge of Carlisle, is undergoing a transformation which will give it a new lease of life as the Acorn Centre.

The building has been empty since 2012, but significant investment from health chiefs at Cumbria Partnerships NHS Foundation Trust is breathing new life into it.

The Acorn Centre will be Cumbria’s first inpatient intensive rehabilitation unit and will enable men with serious and complex mental health issues to be treated closer to their homes.

Because there is no facility currently in the county, those with severe and complex mental health issues who require inpatient rehabilitation have to go out of the area for treatment, often for months or years at a time. The average stay on such units is around 18 months.

Plans which have been on show at the Carleton Clinic state that the new unit will provide “bespoke and contemporary living spaces”, with opportunities for residents to take part in activities such as computing, meal planning, shopping and cooking and therapeutic group”.

The 16-bed unit will also give its residents the chance to develop the skills they need to look after themselves at home once they move on from the Acorn Centre. Work will include learning how to looking after their own medication and decision making.

Facilities will include two lounges for relaxation and an activity room.

There will also be garden and activities area. A planning application submitted to Carlisle City Council seeks permission for a fence around the area, closing it off for residents.

The new Acorn Centre could be ready for its first residents in the spring.

Karen Johl, consultant psychiatrist for adult mental health at Cumbria Partnership, has highlighted the importance in ensuring such facilities are available in the county.

“By investing in intensive inpatient rehabilitation services in Cumbria, we can make sure that people remain connected with their families, carers and their communities whilst maximising independent living skills and improving their quality of life,” she said.

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