New facility harbours thoughts of reducing stigma

Preview of new mental health care facility The Harbour in Blackpool.  Pictured is senior matron Sheila Kasaven.
Preview of new mental health care facility The Harbour in Blackpool. Pictured is senior matron Sheila Kasaven.
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Bosses behind Blackpool’s new multi-million pound mental health facility are hoping its modern look and state-of-the-art facilities will reduce the stigma associated with the conditions.

The Harbour, off Preston New Road, Marton, is set to open on March 10, after a £40m investment by Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust.

The 154-bed facility will provide care for patients from across Lancashire, including in a dedicated 30-bed dementia care suite and a 16-bed psychiatric intensive care unit.

But bosses have said while mental health conditions can seem “scary” to some, they hope the warm, modern surrounds of the facility show it is not a place to be scared of.

Service manager Lorraine MacDonald-Johnson, who is the transitional lead for the adult mental health network, said: “To have a building like this will hopefully reduce that stigma so people don’t think it’s something that should be shut behind closed doors.

“It’s not a scary place, it’s lovely, fresh, warm and welcoming. People feel proud to have this nice building as you come into Blackpool.”

The unit is entirely different to the “not fit-for-purpose” units currently home to mental health services across Lancashire, bosses have said.

All rooms at The Harbour are single bed and en-suite, many with “beautiful views” out over the countryside, compared to the dorms of old in “decrepit” buildings.

Ms MacDonald-Johnson said: “The wards being closed down were built a long time ago, things have moved on.”

The walls of the unit are set to be covered with artwork of famous musicians and celebrities and murals of local scenes from across Lancashire to make patients feel settled and at home.

Senior matron Sheila Kasaven added: “They evoke safety for people and give them familiar things to relate to.”

Bosses also hope to be able to introduce an area similar to Blackpool Victoria Hospital’s memory corridor, an area with large-scale images aimed at patients with dementia or memory impairment, in the dementia unit, too.

Staff have said they are excited to use The Harbour’s many facilities, including a gym, sports hall, games consoles and gardens, to ensure their patients remain active and occupied.

Staff nurse Charlotte Wealthy, 32, said: “With so many more services in the one building and so many activities, patients won’t get bored.

“It could make it easier for people to approach the facility and mental health care.”

And meals at the unit are set to be made freshly each day, to better cater to individual needs.

Staff are currently having training at the facility before it is opened next month. time.