Questions for mental health trust about ‘Serenity Integrated Monitoring’ that criminalises mental illness

The South and West Yorkshire Mental Health Trust (SWYPFT) Board is meeting at 9am – 12.25pm, 29.6.21, on Microsoft Teams. The public can attend and ask questions. Info here. If you have any questions, you need to email them before the meeting to:

We are asking the Board questions tomorrow, about the Serenity Integrated Monitoring Team (the StopSIM webpage with the list of SIM teams shows that SWYPFT launched this team in Feb 2020) and the West Yorkshire Adult Secure Lead Provider Collaborative

Stop SIM Banner

Take action! Mental illness is not a crime!

Please consider signing and sharing the STOPSIM petition. This is from a coalition of service users and allies that are campaigning for the High Intensity Network’s Serenity Integrated Mentoring (SIM) model to be halted immediately, and for an independent inquiry and review to be conducted as soon as possible.

“We believe that SIM is unlawful, unethical and unacceptable.”

There is also a template letter to write to your MP.

Questions to the South and West Yorkshire Mental Health Trust Board

1. The Stop SIM website shows that SWYPFT  launched its Serenity Integrated Monitoring team in Feb 2020. Is this correct?

2. If so,  was SWYPFT aware at the time of widespread concerns about the care model? For example:
  • 2.1 That the High Intensity Network’s SIM model is based on dodgy data that Hampshire Police have disavowed in a Freedom of Information reponse.
  • 2.2 That Serenity Integrated Monitoring is owned and run by a private company, High Intensity Network Ltd.
  • 2.3 That Serenity Integrated Monitoring is an unacceptable step backwards in disability justice and has the effect of criminalising mental distress/illness. 
  • 2.4 That Serenity Integrated Monitoring claims that some of the most mentally unwell individuals in our communities, who frequently come into contact with emergency services while in crisis, are “High Intensity Users” who place an “unnecessary financial burden” on the NHS. (The British Psychological Society says: “Statistics and measures reported by the High Intensity Network and other organisations using SIM are centred mainly on producing savings and managing resource issues for the police and health services. There seems to be little consideration of what their use means for the service users involved.”)
  • 2.5 The focus of SIM is on reducing service demand (how frequently people come into contact with emergency services), not the patients’ well-being or experience. This program is likely to have the effect of re-traumatising individuals. SIM does not use any outcome measures (data that measures the success of the programme) that are commonly used in community mental health services to assess changes in the individuals mental well-being.
  • 2.6 That individuals under Serenity Integrated Monitoring have “crisis response plans” that prevent them from accessing potentially life-saving treatment from the usual places that people are able to seek support during a crisis. This includes: ambulance services, A&E, mental health crisis services, community mental health teams and the police. 
  • 2.7 Additionally, the Serenity Integrated Monitoring model is heavily reliant on the “coercive” powers of the police to enforce “behavioural responsibility” and “behavioural management” on “High Intensity Users”. “High Intensity Officers” are placed in mental health teams and have full access to the individual’s medical records, with or without their consent. Messages such as: “We are responsible for the consequences of our actions and we need you to understand what the consequences of your actions will be if they continue” are “compassionately, but firmly reinforced over the course of several weeks/months.”
  • 2.8 That Serenity Integrated Monitoring appears to breach UK GDPR regulations: SIM allows ‘sensitive data’ (information like medical records, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, gender reassignment and financial information) to be shared between services without the subject’s consent (the subject is the person who the information is about).”
3. What, if any, is the relationship between the SWYPFT Serenity Integrated Monitoring Team and the High Intensity Network company?
4. Are South and West Yorkshire police officers members of community mental health teams, as “ High Intensity Officers”? If so, do the Police hold any NHS contracts?
5. Is SWYPFT aware of the Academic Health Science Network’s commitment to undertake an independent review to fully understand the circumstances surrounding the AHSN Network role in supporting providers to adopt the Serenity Integrated Monitoring model?
6. How is SWYPFT responding to NHS England’s ask of trust medical directors and directors of nursing, to review services for high intensity users so a full picture of the Serenity Integrated Monitoring model can be obtained,  to enable NHS England to establish the full facts?
7. Is the WY Adult Secure Lead Provider Collaborative related to either/both Serenity Integrated Monitoring and the Vulnerability Support Service?  (The April 2021 Minutes record that “The West Yorkshire adult secure lead provider collaborative is to review options with NHS England about what a “go  live” for 1st July 2021 may look like.”)

(Bit of info: Here is a report by Counter Terrorism Policing on the Vulnerability Support Service and Project Cicero. The Vulnerability Support Service was set up as a pilot in 3 regions (not West Yorkshire) to test the “effectiveness of mental health professionals working alongside counter terrorism police officers in relation to the management of individuals referred to CT policing with known or suspected mental health difficulties and disorders.” Counter Terrorisim Policing is now running Project Cicero to roll out the Vulnerability Support Service nationally.)

8. Will patients who are moved out of low and medium secure services into the community come under the “care” of the Serenity Integrated Monitoring Team?

According to the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Integrated Care System webpage on the WY Adult Secure Lead Provider Collaborative, “There are three key areas of mobilisation: providing care closer to home, development of community models and diversification of hospital inpatient services within West Yorkshire. In the first 12 months the Lead Provider Collaborative will focus on those people who are currently supported in low and medium secure services who could instead be supported in the community.  We have already identified who these people are and have engaged with their link workers to develop a plan to discuss the ways they could be supported by services.” 

Update:  In response to our questions to the Board meeting on 29th June 2021, the South West Yorkshire Foundation Partnership Trust medical director Dr Subha Thiyagesh told the Board that the Trust withdrew from the Serenity Integrated Monitoring scheme on 10 June 2021, following concerns raised on social media.

An action was raised at the Board meeting for a full response to all of our questions to be provided. You can find the response in this blogpost.

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