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Spotlight: SAFEZONE

by Pratyasha – 8th Jul 2022

I met with Lizzy from Safe Zone to find out all about the service and how it can help young people with their mental health. Sometimes it can be a bit scary to go to a new service as you may not know what to expect or what the service can offer you. Thanks to Lizzy, I got a lot of information about Safe Zone and really got to see how great of an option it is for both young people in crisis as well as parents. Below is all the information that you may want to know about before approaching the service as well as referral information and pictures of some of the different locations.

What is Safe Zone?

Safe Zone provides emotional crisis support for people aged between 11-17 and parents of young people with Leeds postcodes  (+ WF3). They offer face to face support, telephone support and zoom support, aiming to provide a person-centred service that is compassionate, non-judgemental and confidential. This service is survivor-led and offers emotional support to up to 6 young people per night, lasting about 45 minutes.

Who does Safe Zone support?

Safe Zone supports young people between the ages of 11 and 17 as well as parents of young people who are going through difficult times. This service supports those living in the Leeds area including WF3 and some Bradford postcodes.

What can I expect from the service?

Safe Zone is a survivor-led service. This means that all the staff there are or have been mental health service-users and have experience of mental health issues. They provide a range of emotional support either face-to-face, on Zoom or on the telephone. They do not, however, provide counselling.

Sessions usually last between 30-40 minutes and consist of one-to-one support with an experienced crisis support worker.

Sometimes it can be daunting going to a new service that you haven’t accessed before. The staff at Safe Zone understand this and offer look-arounds where you can book a time to come in and look around the space and meet the team members. To do this, you can call up or email the service and arrange a time with them (see contact information).

How do I get a referral?

There are three main ways to access the service: referral from a professional, referral from a parent/carer and a self-referral. This means that you could be referred from a professional such as a GP, or a parent or carer could contact Safe Zone to arrange for you to get support or you could contact the service yourself (see the contact information section to find phone numbers and emails).

Will I be put on a waiting list?

What’s really great about Safe Zone is that there is no waiting list! A lot of the time a waiting list is a huge barrier to accessing support for mental health and it can be very frustrating having to wait to be seen. Because Safe Zone doesn’t offer counselling, there is no waiting list. You can access the service when you need it. This could be on a regular basis or for a one-off instance- it is completely up to you and your needs.

When can I access the service?

Safe Zone is open three nights a week at three different locations from 18:00 to 21:00. These are as follows:

  • Sunday: LS-TEN, Unit 1, Kitson Road LS10 1NT
  • Monday: The Market Place, 18a New Market Street, LS1 6DG
  • Thursday: Dial House, 12 Chapel Street LS15 7RW

What support is there for parents?

Safe Zone is unique to other services in that it provides emotional support to parents and carers of young people who are experiencing emotional distress. This is provided in a similar way to the support that young people receive. Parents and carers play a huge role in the physical and emotional wellbeing of young people and can also need help in order to best support their own children. Safe Zone offers parents practical and emotional support, advice and education as well as holding parent workshops in order to provide help and guidance to parents of children who are struggling mentally or are in crisis.

What if I have no way of getting there?

Safe Zone offers a free taxi to and from the venue to those who want to access the service.

Do I need to get consent from my parents?

Parental consent is required for children under the age of 13 and when receiving support over Zoom. If you are accessing support over Zoom, it is important to keep in mind that this has to be done in a public space, not somewhere like your bedroom. For those over the age of 13 receiving face-to-face support, parental consent is not needed.

Safeguarding

Safe Zone is a confidential service. This means that anything you tell the safezone team will not be shared outside of the team. However, the only exception is where there are safeguarding concerns. If a member of staff believes that you are in danger of harming yourself or others then they have a duty to take this further and share this information outside of Safe Zone. The team at Safe Zone will always try to work with you to figure out the best course of action for you specifically. It is worth keeping in mind that they are aware of the difference between suicidal ideation and intent and will always discuss with you further to understand which is applicable.

Confidentiality

Both parents and young people can access the service, even at the same time. This can be very useful as young people are provided with emotional support and parents can also understand the best ways to support their children as well as themselves. However, this can lead to some anxiety as young people may want varying levels of involvement from their parents. Safe Zone have strict rules on confidentiality so information about what young people have said whilst accessing support will not be shared to parents (and vice versa) without clear consent and parents and young people are not usually supported by the same member of staff. This means that if you choose to, you can have your parent/carer with you during support but you can also choose not to involve them. The only times that confidentiality may be broken are when there are concerns about safeguarding, some information may need to be shared outside of the service and this could even be to parents (see safeguarding section) but this will be discussed with you first to understand the best course of action for you.

Contact information

Phone 0113 819 8189 / 07593 529367

These numbers can be called to make a referral by yourself, a parent/carer or a professional. Referrals have to be made on the day of support between 17:00 to 20:30, with the last referral being made before 20:30, and operate on a first come, first served basis.

Extra information

Safe Zone offers face-to-face or telephone support where you talk to a crisis support worker. However some people may feel that this is not the right kind of support for them and they would like a service that they can access online. Teen Connect offers texting and online support and could be an alternative for some people if they feel that Safe Zone is not for them.

The Safe Zone team offers different forms of support that is tailored to the individual. They understand that sometimes, what young people need is a distraction or an escape to a calm and supportive environment. So, support isn’t always in the form of talking, Safe Zone offers space to socialize, have something to eat or drink, take part in activities and just provide general distractions from whatever it is that is making the person emotionally distressed.


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