Host Families Scheme
A Host Family provides a caring, family environment for a guest, which avoids hospital admission, or allows early discharge from hospital, and focuses more on home, family and the community for people who are going through a period of mental health crisis.
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Guests are encouraged to get involved in all aspects of family life, from walking the dog to cooking family meals. Guests can go out if they want to and can to meet up with family and friends when they like.
The scheme is the first of its kind in the UK and is based on evidence that people with mental ill health recover better if they are out in the community, in a supportive family setting, taking part in a daily routine.
Both hosts and guests get intensive support from our Crisis Assessment and Treatment Teams (CATT) and hosts are not expected to provide care or treatment, just a welcoming, caring environment. Hosts receive a payment to cover the costs of taking in a guest. The length of stay is usually for about three to six weeks with a maximum of eight weeks.
Feedback from hosts and guests
"A staff member from CATT mentioned the scheme when they visited me, so I decided to do it. I think it's a very good idea. It's a good alternative to hospital for people with mental health problems who don't want to go onto a noisy ward."
"I found the stay very helpful and I was able to come back and pick up the threads of living alone. I would consider staying with a host family again."
"We are a stepping stone and we feel like we are making a difference. We are like a haven where they can come and take time out but at the same time, do things to increase their confidence, things that we take for granted."
"I think it's a fantastic idea. Home life is quiet and peaceful and wards are quite often noisy and restrictive and they are surrounded by others with challenging behaviours. With us, they are able to eat what they like, go out when they like and have more freedom."
"It's about trying to get the balance right. We had a mutual understanding that we would tell each other when we were going out and when we would be back. We also had mobile phones so we could keep in touch."
We are always looking for more families across the county to join the scheme. If you are interested in becoming a host family, please contact the scheme's co-ordinator on 07768131413 or email email@example.com