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Referral Policy | Atrium Prison Counselling Service.

Referral Policy | Atrium Prison Counselling Service

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What do we offer the prison population?
  • Assessment and triage for counselling
  • Confidential counselling up to 6 sessions (with option to extend to 12 sessions depending on needs and complexity and subject to criteria for extension). Atrium offers counselling to compliment CBT based approaches offered by partner services in prisons.
  • Coordinated approach to client care as part of multidisciplinary team
  • Collaborative approach to managements of waits and risk
  • Workshops on topics such as anger management, limited sites only (Thameside).
How do I refer to the service?

Please make your referrals via the triage process (System One task referrals and/or via the IMHT referral meeting).

Atrium does not accept informal or verbal referrals outside of the triage process.

All referrals must adhere to the following format:

  • Either sent via System One tasks
    • Referral S1 task must include a completed Atrium referral template
    • If a free text paragraph referral it must include the referral template sections:
      • Name of referrer
      • Date of referral
      • Complete TAG risk score
      • Detailed reason for referral
      • If the client is already on an open ACCT
    • Or Clinical Lead or Senior clinician receive referral in the IMHT referrals meeting
    • If a client/member of non-Healthcare staff asked to be referred to our service, please direct them to speak to the nurses on the wing to complete a task referral for them.

All referrals will be paper triaged via S1, to assess suitability prior to acceptance of referral. Once accepted client will be placed on routine or priority waiting list.

Clients referred for First time in Prison, Self-harm, Suicidal ideation, and/or are engaged in the ACCT process, will be placed on priority assessment waiting list.

Atrium Referral Criteria
  1. First time in prison and struggling with e.g. prison regime; being away from friends & family
  2. Not coping with prison life, e.g. stress at the noise; isolation; fear of bullying
  3. Complex bereavement (first 6 months please refer to chaplaincy; consider Atrium if client grieving beyond 6 months)
  4. Relationship issues
  5. Stress, anxiety, low mood, and depression (please refer to IAPT or PCMHT unless need for further exploration)
  6. Self-harm and suicidal ideation (see below for exclusion criteria with these referrals)
  7. Anger management (please refer to IAPT or PCMHT unless need to explore issues in more depth)
  8. Coming to terms with long sentence
  9. Sexual abuse/ physical abuse/ domestic violence
Please do not refer clients with:
  1. Less than 3 months left on sentence
  2. Emergency / crisis management
  3. Recent escalation in self-harm or suicide behaviors
  4. Already on the waiting list or engaging with another talking therapy service (e.g. IAPT, PCMHT, Psychology) – only refer once work is completed
  5. Recent bereavement (less than 6 months after loss). For these clients, please refer to Chaplaincy
  6. Complex presentation requiring long term therapy (e.g., pervasive Personality Disorders) or rendering the client unable to engage with talking therapy (e.g., inability to reflect or engage in therapeutic relationship)
  7. PTSD
  8. Issues more appropriate for a psychoeducation/CBT approach or key working (e.g., Panic Attacks, sleep issues)
Your role as a referrer to Atrium is to:
  • Discuss the Counselling Service with the person, explaining what support we offer, refer with their issue to mental health team and the team will refer to the most appropriate service to support their needs. If referred and accepted, Atrium will send them a letter confirming their referral if they are referred to us.
  • Explain the limits of the Atrium confidentiality agreement (risk to self or others will be disclosed by the clinician to ensure safety of them or others both in and outside of the prison)
  • Reassure the person that they remain under the umbrella care of the prison mental health service which Atrium will remain in contact with
  • Inform the patient that Atrium might not accept the referral if we are unable to support them and offers only a supportive role to the prison Mental Health Team, to which Atrium can, at any time, refer them back should the need arise.
Referral and Discharge Letters
  • All client referrals will be sent a referral letter informing them of their referral to Atrium Prison Counselling Service and that they have been placed on the assessment waiting list. All clients will be sent discharge letters upon discharge regarding either completion of work or disengagement from service. These letters will be saved to their Prison NHS record.
Last Review Date: August 2023
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642 London Road

Telephone: 01702-332857

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