Thousands of people across Yorkshire, Humber and northern Lincolnshire could benefit from a first of its kind specialist mental health service launching this April.

The new regional outpatient neuropsychiatry service provides assessment and treatment for adults living with combined neurological illnesses or head injuries who have associated neuropsychiatric problems.

While psychiatrists offer support to people with a range of mental health conditions, neuropsychiatrists provide treatment to individuals who experience mental health concerns from neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s, brain tumours, epilepsy and Motor Neurone Disease.

We are bringing the specialist outpatient provision to the region.

NAViGO neuropsychiatry service lead Suzanne Rea said: “Other regions across the UK have already benefited from introducing this specialist service and it’s something NAViGO have been passionate about providing to our region. 

It is anticipated that over 500 people in North East Lincolnshire alone could benefit from the much-needed support and that doesn’t take into account the neuropsychiatric impact of COVID which may have worsened people’s symptoms.

“We want this service to address this unmet need.”

Anyone over the age of 18 and living with a neurological condition with accompanied cognitive, behavioural or psychiatric disorders can access the neuropsychiatry service.

This includes: 

  • Neuropsychiatric consequences of neurological conditions such as stroke, head injury, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis or movement disorders
  • Functional neurological disorders such as non-epileptic fits

The specialist assessment aims to improve quality of life for service users and their family and carers by:

  • Supporting service users with complex needs to remain in their own home
  • Reducing crisis and inpatient admissions
  • Minimising the need for out-of-area services
  • Providing ongoing support as needed
  • Promoting integration back into the community
  • Providing an integrated approach alongside GPs

NAViGO business development manager Sally Gell and her family know only too well the effects neurological problems can have on mental health: “In 2012, my mother was diagnosed with Bulbar Palsy, a terminal and virulent form of Motor Neurone Disease that initially affects the upper motor neurones before attacking every part of the body.   

“Mum very quickly lost the ability to speak which caused her huge anxiety.  We all take for granted that we can join in a conversation and make our voice heard. It isn’t until this is taken away from us that we realise how much we need to engage in conversation with others.  Mum was very badly affected by this and became very depressed. 

“We tried at the time to source help for her but, although everyone was empathetic, health services felt this was a mental health issue and vice versa meaning mum fell through a gap.  We did eventually get some help but it was more psychological and not psychiatric. 

“I am delighted that NAViGO is now launching this very much needed service for our local area and that others will be able to access support when they need it.”

Specialist mental health professionals as well as GPs can make referrals to the service here.  

The service will initially run as a one-year pilot scheme.