Men's Mental Health - PICU

Male psychiatric intensive care ward (PICU) based in Northampton, facilitating short term intensive treatment for adults aged from 18 to 65.

Telephone: 01604 616 111 

Fax: 01604 616 681

Heygate Ward is a Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit within the Men's Mental Health Pathway, based in Northampton. It offers short periods of rapid assessment, intensive treatment and stabilisation for 10 men within a locked setting. 

The Heygate Ward team aims to provide a high quality service offering assessment, treatment, care and security for men who are in an acutely disturbed phase of a serious mental disorder. It has defined its key patient outcomes to be rapid stabilisation, crisis resolution, risk-reduction, prevention of relapse and promotion of recovery. Goals for recovery, including an estimated date of discharge from the PICU, will be set as part of the admission process. The emphasis is on short-term intensive treatment with regular reviews of progress.

Since 1 February 2019, Heygate PICU have been trialling body ward cameras on nurses. For further information please contact the Operational Lead, Dean Robinson by emailing

Welcome to Heygate

Spacious bright living area

Ward based games room

Ward based fitness room

Bright wide corridors

Single en-suite bedroom

On-site swimming pool

Ward based court yard

MAH sports hall

On site gym

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 with suicidal tendency
  • Schizoaffective Disorder
  • a significant 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.






Heygate Ward is a highly staffed unit which provides short periods of rapid assessment, intensive treatment and stabilisation for patients before or during a longer period of inpatient care. Admission will be based on an individual needs assessment and in some cases patients may be admitted directly to a PICU. 

Patients admitted to a PICU will have behavioural challenges which seriously compromise the physical or psychological well-being of themselves or others, and cannot be safely assessed or treated in an open acute inpatient facility (usually a general adult inpatient mental health ward)

Patients will only be admitted to a PICU if they display a significant risk of aggression, absconding with associated risk, suicide or vulnerability (e.g. due to sexual disinhibition or over-activity) in the context of a serious mental illness.

It is envisaged that all PICU patients would be detained under the Mental Health Act (MHA) 1983, as admission and detention in a locked PICU environment constitutes a fundamental loss of freedom for an individual. If a patient has been discharged from their MHA detention at short notice, there may be a short period of time during which they remain on the PICU informally until an onward care plan and pathway is arranged.

Heygate PICU is a member of NAPICU and adheres to the NAPICU minimum standards and their admission criteria

Admission inclusion criteria for PICU: 

  • Patients admitted to the PICU should exhibit mental state or clinical behaviour which seriously compromises their physical or psychological well-being, or that of others, and which cannot be safely assessed or treated in a general adult ward
  • Externally directed aggression. A patient is assessed as posing a significant risk of harm to others or extreme aggression towards property
  • Internally directed aggression. A patient is assessed as posing a significant risk of suicide and the patient is unresponsive to preventative measures available
  • Absconding patients who are detained under the MHA 1983, for whom the consequences of persistent absconding are serious enough to warrant treatment in the PICU
  • Unpredictably patients, potentially posing a significant risk to self or others and requiring further assessment
  • Patients should be detained under the MHA 1983 (all section papers are checked before accepting admission) and patients are not admitted under section 136


Admission exclusion Criteria for PICU - Admission should not occur in the following circumstances: 

  • Patient is assessed as presenting too high an internal or perimeter security risk for the PICU, requiring a Medium or High secure PICU
  • 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 primary diagnosis of Dementia, Learning Disability and Personality Disorder
  • Patients physical condition is too frail to allow their safe management on a PICU
  • Patient has a chronic condition which would not benefit from admission to PICU
  • 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 PICU 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.

Our PICU patients are supported by high levels of experienced medical and nursing staff, Psychologists, Social Workers and Occupational Therapists.

Our team are expert in treating people with acute mental illness and complex needs, 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.

Heygate 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, patients will be engaged on a suitable OT programme to facilitate recovery.  These groups are facilitated by Occupational Therapists, Psychology, Nursing, with sessions also by the Physical Health Nurse, Art Therapist and Advocacy.

 Dr Beber, Clinical Lead

Dr Beber, Clinical Lead

  • Consultant Psychiatrist and Clinical Lead for Bayley and Heygate PICUs
  • With over twenty years' experience, Dr Beber has worked in both inpatient and community settings and developed a particular expertise in a number of areas including working with acute mental illness, forensic mental health, PD, ASD and LD.
 Dean, Operational Lead

Dean, Operational Lead

  • Operational Lead for Bayley and Heygate PICUs
  • With over 14 years' experience in mental healthcare, Dean's interests are in operational and clinical leadership, change management and performance coaching. Dean has managed a PICU, low secure male and transitional wards as Modern Matron.
  • ILM Certificate in Leadership and Management, Post Graduate Certificate in Healthcare Leadership (NHS Mary Seacole Programme) with the Open University, NHS Leadership Academy Front Line Programme
 Akim, Nurse Manager

Akim, Nurse Manager

  • After joining the charity in 2016, Akim progressed from being a senior staff nurse mentoring student nurses, a deputy ward manager to Nurse Manager. Akim specialises in intensive care and the stabilisation of our PICU patients before offering treatment.
  • Level 3 ILM in First Line Management Award, APPS-3059 Assessing in Professional Practice Diploma in Nursing (Mental Health), BSc Professional Practice (Mental Health).
 Dr Matthew Ideh, Associate Specialist

Dr Matthew Ideh, Associate Specialist

  • With 13 year's experience in psychiatry, Dr Ideh has worked in various sub-specialties of general adult psychiatry since 2009. He progressed onto a medium secure forensic setting in 2016 and now works with our Northampton PICUs.
  • Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) certification including Section 12/20 status.
 Jordan, Activities Co-ordinator

Jordan, Activities Co-ordinator

  • Since joining St Andrew's in 2011 as a Healthcare Assistant, Jordan has obtained extensive experience working within a PICU environment. He is now an Activities Co-ordinator planning and organising therapeutic sessions for our Northampton PICUs.
 Helen, Pharmacist

Helen, Pharmacist

  • Since graduating, Helen worked as a self-employed pharmacist locum while in post with the Leicester NHS Trust Drug and Alchohol team. In 2008 at St Andrew's, Helen specialised in the men's service before joining the PICU as their designated Pharmacist.
  • RCGP Management of Substance Misuse in Primary Care, Diploma in Psychiatric Pharmacy, Aston University
 Leah, Assistant Psychologist

Leah, Assistant Psychologist

  • Leah has worked in inpatient (medium and low secure), outpatient and community settings. She specialises in BPD, PTSD and OCD within experience of working with DBT and CBT models.
  • Leah is first author on a published piece of research evaluating the efficacy of the NICE Approved Counselling for Depression intervention in IAPT services.
 Sam, Social Worker

Sam, Social Worker

  • Sam has ten years' experience working in a variety of settings including forensic adolescent and neuropsychiatry settings.
  • Sam is a keen advocate and strong voice for service users, protecting their rights and taking the lead role in safeguarding. He is the main link for families and professionals and arranges swift patient transfers from PICUs.
  • BA (Hons) Social Work with the Open University, registered with the Health and Care Profession Council.


  •  Modern bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms
  • 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 to support a transition.

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