Tower Hamlets Early Intervention Service (THEIS) provides high quality, skilled care and support to adults experiencing a first episode of psychosis and their families. The Tower Hamlets Early Detection Service (THEDS) is an innovative team working alongside THEIS to identify and support individuals who are at high risk of developing psychosis, in order to bring down duration of untreated psychoses in the borough, build resilience and prevent development of symptoms where possible.

The THEIS and THEDS team work closely together and constantly think of ways to support service users and their families to engage with the services and wider community resources to develop their coping skills and achieve their potential in one of the culturally most diverse boroughs in the country.

With a truly team based approach and a collective leadership model, they benefit from a wide range of disciplines, including nurses, doctors, psychologists, social workers, occupational therapists, a bilingual support worker and an employment specialist. Most staff are trained in delivery of Behavioural Family Interventions, as recommended in the NICE guidelines, and are able to offer family interventions to all clients and their loved ones. All clients are also offered NICE-compliant individual CBT for psychosis, as well as a number of therapeutic groups, which have the added benefit of shared experience communicated between service users, breaking down stigma and isolation.

Groups include social inclusion activity group, tree of life group, mindfulness group, making sense of psychosis and psychoeducation group, Couch to 5K group and acceptance and commitment therapy group. Monthly in-house training sessions are held, to learn from each other and share skill sets. Sub teams are responsible for driving innovations in various areas, such as links with the community, publications and information, service user and carer involvement and inter-team links for ensuring we are able to learn from other EI Services within the trust and further afield.

Close links have been formed with local third sector organisations including The Prince’s Trust, Look Ahead, Tower Hamlets Community Health Trainers, Rethink Family Action, and Urban Yogis. In particular, their employment specialist is currently deepening links with local colleges and training providers to increase service users’ access to training and job opportunities, and build relationships with local employers to enable young people to achieve their career goals and reach their full potential. They hold annual open days for third sector organisations and services users and their families, providing talks and stalls for information and refreshments.

 

With 175 patients on the THEIS case load and 40 patients with the THEDS (at risk mental state) team, Tower Hamlets have met the national standard for two weeks referral to treatment for under 35s since April 2016 and over 35s since starting the pilot project in December 2016.

Summary: Working in partnership with service users and families necessitates positive risk taking and holding a holistic perspective of care, rather than being overly wedded to the medical model.

For further information https://www.england.nhs.uk/mental-health/case-studies/mh-tower-hamlets/