Developed by mental health charity Self Help Services, The Sanctuary facility aims to provide alternative for people who, in the past, have had to resort to using accident and emergency services when experiencing a mental health crisis.
After cutting the ribbon at the new building, McAlpine said: “There are some excellent mental health services in Manchester, but they don’t open during the night.
"If you are experiencing difficulties, and you need some support, you can’t plan when you’re going to need it. So this service is filling a gap and will make a real difference. I believe it really will save lives.”
Deputy PCC, Jim Battle, local councillors Mary Murphy and Alistair Cox, clinical commissioning group and public health commissioners were also among the guests at the opening of the venue, which will operate all night, every night.
The Sanctuary will work with the local police, who often encounter people with mental health issues in need of a safe place to turn. It has been set up to be a place of safety and support, welcoming people experiencing anxiety, panic attacks, depression and/or suicidal thoughts outside of usual office hours.
“We very much welcome this new and much-needed service,” Battle said. “It’s projects such as this, that I and the police and crime commissioner encourage other agencies to get behind and work together to develop, to make sure we are providing the right services at the right time and in the right place across Greater Manchester.”
In its first night, The Sanctuary had two clients, one referred by the police and another who had read about the service at www.selfhelpservices.org.uk.
Manchester residents, or those registered with a GP in Manchester, can access the service by first calling The Sanctuary on 0161 637 0808. Following a conversation with trained staff, people will then either be offered telephone support or will be invited to come to The Sanctuary.