Mental health treatment across Hertfordshire and west Essex has been given a welcome boost.

Three million pounds has been awarded to Hertfordshire and West Essex Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) which will mean patients have better access to urgent and emergency health assessments and treatment closer to home.

This successful bid of £3 million over two years will:

This award of £3m over two years means that adult residents of Hertfordshire and west Essex will benefit from consistent and comprehensive mental health crisis services, including:

• provide 24 hour a day, 365 days a year access to urgent and emergency mental health assessments in three A&E departments – at Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow, the Lister Hospital in Stevenage and Watford General Hospital

• improved home treatment options including face to face assessments, intensive therapies and support

• two new ‘crisis cafes’, run in partnership with the mental health charity ‘Mind’, to provide people experiencing a mental health crisis with a safe, relaxed and friendly environment to talk about their issues. The cafes will be staffed by people who have also experienced mental ill-health problems and can offer support

• improved weekend social care crisis support (though Night Light in Hertfordshire), so that services will be offered 24/7 between Friday and Monday, when there are high levels of need

Dr Geraldine O’Sullivan, the STP clinical lead for mental health said: "As a mental health specialist, I am delighted that across our area we will soon be able to offer the same level of hospital or community-based services to adults experiencing mental health emergencies as we offer to those who have physical injuries or illnesses.

"We have been working for some time with patients, service users and carers to make sure that we design responsive mental health crisis services together. These vital funds will help us ensure that the 1.5 million people living in Hertfordshire and west Essex have access to 24/7 urgent and emergency mental health assessments and intensive home treatment by 2020. "This kind of support can change the lives of people living with mental ill-health and their friends and families."

This funding announcement comes on the back of a recent allocation of £4.5 million to improve community mental health care and another for more than £1.3 million to support children and teenagers in the STP area’s schools who are facing mental health challenges.