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How state-of-the-art women's unit in Lincoln leads the way in mental health treatment...

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: February 18, 2013

  • Innovative: The £15 million Discovery House centre is leading the way in mental health treatment

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Just one year after the county's only specialist rehabilitation unit for women with complex and severe mental health needs opened its doors, the first patient at the £15 million Discovery House centre is on the verge of leaving. Reporter Sam Morris went to see how the state-of-the-art women's unit is leading the way in mental health treatment...

Bright, spacious corridors decorated with patients' artwork make for a pleasant atmosphere. And for the ladies being treated at the Vales, it is an environment they thrive in.

For one, known as Anna, it has been an eventful year.

She was the first patient admitted to the ward and has been in and out of hospital for six years.

Diagnosed with depression at 21, Anna was first admitted to hospital at 24.

She has been in and out of wards from Woking to Sheffield, but after a year at the Vales, she is on the verge of discharge.

"Coming to Lincoln when this place opened was a huge relief because I was much closer to my family," she said.

"I needed to be back in Lincoln so this place was perfect and was a blessing in disguise.

"We always have the same staff here which makes it easier for us to build relationships and friendships with them.

"We are comfortable talking to them.

"At some of the hospitals I was at, there were lots of agency staff which set me back a while.

"There are always activities going on here and everything is very well planned.

"I have got voluntary work agreed for when I am discharged which should hopefully be at the end of this month.

"I am just waiting for my CRB check to come through.

"Being in the Vales has really helped me."

Ward manager Steve Wyatt is proud of their progress since they opened last year.

"We are a leading example for the whole country with the work we do," he said.

"Although the building is state of the art, it is the work that goes on in it which makes us stand out.

"If it wasn't for our team of staff, we wouldn't be able to achieve what we do."

There are currently 13 women in the Vales, cared for by a team of 30 staff.

"We treat the ladies as people, not just as patients," he added.

"Most of them will be with us for at least 18 months so we really get to know them.

"We are not just piecing together their mental health but also the social and practical aspects of a person's life.

"Our ultimate aim is to get them back into the community and for them to be able to be independent."

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