ACUTE - Men's Mental Health

Male Acute ward based in Essex, providing short-term intensive treatment for adults aged from 18 to 65.

To make a referral email:

or call the freephone referral number on: 0800 434 6690

Benfleet ward is an acute ward within the Men's Mental Health Pathway, based in Essex. It offers short periods of rapid assessment, intensive treatment and stabilisation for 16 men within a specialist rehabilitation setting. Typically, male patients present with behaviour that is less challenging than those who require a Psychiatric Intensive Care (PICU) setting.

The Benfleet ward team aims to provide quality assessment, treatment, care and safety for men who are in an acutely disturbed phase of a serious mental disorder. The team will work with patients and their care teams to rapidly stabilise periods of crisis. They will develop future plans to help reduce future periods of crisis, including risk reduction and relapse prevention. Patients will be encouraged to lead their own recovery.

Our aim is to support patients to overcome acute phases of mental health crisis over a short period of time, before working with local teams to enable patients to discharge to less restrictive environments in their local community as quickly as possible. Patients are given a clear plan on admission and following assessment which includes and estimated date of discharge. The emphasis of care is on short-term intensive treatment with regular reviews of progress.

Acute and PICU referral form

Please contact the ward in the first instance before completing a referral form.

Acute and PICU Referral Form 2024 Acute and PICU service brochure 2023
St Andrews Wards 250117 Panoramic 21

Modern and bring living areas

St Andrews Wards 250117 Panoramic 23

Areas for staff and patients to relax

St Andrews Wards 250117 Panoramic 29

Modern and spacious bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms

Admissions criteria

Males aged between 18 and 65 years old with mental health issue which may include:

  • Schizophrenia
  • Drug induced psychosis
  • Bi-polar affected disorder
  • Depression
  • Schizoaffective disorder
  • potential risk of harming themselves or others
  • and are detained under the Mental Health Act 1983.

These criteria are a guide for assessing suitability. Each patient will be individually assessed by our dedicated team.

This ward will not be appropriate for patients with a history of Dementia, Learning Disabilities or Personality Disorders.

Ward detail

Benfleet ward provides short periods of rapid assessment, intensive treatment and stabilisation for patients experiencing an acute phase of mental illness. Admission will be based on an individual needs assessment.

Patients admitted to Benfleet will display diagnostic complexities but will not present with the behavioural challenges that are typically seen in patients presenting to PICUs. Patients will require short-term periods of stabilisation before returning to community services.

If a patient’s state deteriorates whilst in an acute ward, there is the option for patients to be supported within the Men's Mental Health Pathway in Essex, either within the Male PICU (Audley Ward) or our Low Secure inpatient service (Danbury).

Detailed admission inclusion criteria for acute:

  • Patients admitted to the acute ward should exhibit a mental state which seriously compromises their physical or psychological well-being
  • Patients should be detained under the MHA 1983 (all section papers are checked before accepting admission) and patients are not admitted under section 136.

Detailed admission exclusion criteria for acute - Admission should not occur in the following circumstances:

  • Patient is presenting extreme behaviours that challenge and is deemed too high risk for the acute ward, instead requiring PICU services.
  • Patient is assessed as presenting too high an internal or perimeter security risk for the acute ward, requiring a higher security level.
  • The patient has a primary diagnosis of substance misuse and the primary purpose of admission is solely to prevent access to substances
  • The patient has a history of of absconding
  • The patient has a primary diagnosis of Dementia, Learning Disability and Personality Disorder
  • Patients physical condition is too frail to allow their safe management on an acute ward
  • Patient has a chronic condition which would not benefit from admission to an acute ward
  • The patient is restricted (subject to MHA 1983 , via the courts ,Ministry of Justice) and has no clear pathway or provision for transfer from the acute ward once clinically warranted
  • Patient must be 18 years and over and not above 65 years.


Treatment and care

We provide high quality, tailored treatment programmes which are developed to recognise each individual’s strengths, needs and risks, with specific emphasis on treating mental illness and starting the recovery process.

Patients on our acute ward are supported by high levels of experienced medical and nursing staff, Psychologists, Social Workers and Occupational Therapists.

Our clinical team are expert in treating people with acute mental illness, offering a range of group and individual therapeutic interventions to meet the patients’ needs at different stages of their recovery, including:

  • Psychological skills
  • Mindfulness
  • Problem solving
  • Mental health awareness, including: understanding stress, understanding medication, substance misuse and understanding unusual experiences (psychosis).

Once risk is reduced and the patient’s mental state and behaviour has been stabilised, transfer to an appropriate facility will take place – we focus on moving individuals on to these services and back in to less secure or community settings as soon as possible.

Benfleet Ward uses medication led model and follows the nursing approach of Safewards which incorporates:

  • clear mutual expectations
  • soft words
  • reassurance
  • mutual help meeting
  • bad news mitigation
  • positive words
  • calm down methods
  • discharge messages
  • talk down
  • know each other.

Depending on their mental state and length of stay, patients will be engaged on a suitable Occupational Therapy programme to facilitate their recovery.  These groups are facilitated by Occupational Therapists, Psychology, Nursing, with sessions also by the Physical Health Nurse and Advocacy.


Patients within our acute ward can benefit from the following facilities to aid their recovery:

  • Modern bedrooms
  • Therapy areas including crafts, information technology (IT) skills, kitchens and vocational rehabilitation
  • Fitness suite
  • Large enclosed courtyard and garden
  • Children and family visitor room
  • Multi-faith room
  • GP
  • Café
  • Library
  • Chillax Room.

Next steps

Discharge is considered at admission and our clinical and social work teams work with appropriate case managers and local teams to support a community transition as soon as possible.

Our location