Women's Mental Health - medium secure

A medium secure service for women aged over 18 with complex mental health needs, challenging behaviour and treatment-resistant psychotic illness.

Stowe is a recovery-orientated service, providing bespoke psychosocial packages of care aimed at increasing skills to manage distress and psychotic symptoms, minimise risk, and enable individuals to work towards realistic and achievable goals.

The philosophy of care on Stowe is based on recognition that an individual has strengths as well as needs, and a right to receive support, treatment and care from multi-disciplinary teams able to assist recovery.

Spacious living area

Arts and activities room

Modern bedrooms

Bright dining area

Ward courtyard

on site swimming pool

Vocational workshop oppotunites

Admissions criteria

We care for women with psychosis who may have failed in other placements, providing them with the tools required to better manage their condition.

Admission criteria is women aged 18-65 who:

  • have a diagnosis of severe emotional, psychiatric and behavioural difficulties
  • pose a significant risk of harming themselves or others
  • require care within a medium secure environment.

Specialist psychological treatment

Psychologists offer care and treatment to women with complex mental health difficulties. Specialised services for those women who have a mental illness, or presents with a dual diagnosis are available.  Most of the patients have also committed serious offences and present with criminogenic needs.

The process of treatment follows different phases in the treatment model. During the stabilisation and containment phase, the focus relate to an initial assessment period that consists of a series of clinical interviews covering mental health problems, interpersonal/personality problems, cognitive functioning, substance use and offending.

The aim of the initial assessment is to collaboratively develop a formulation, identify treatment needs and propose sequential interventions according to phases of treatment. We also offer core group interventions focusing on skills training. Individual psychological therapy will also focus on understanding and managing risk. Individual behaviour management interventions based on RAID principles would also be considered to stabilise behaviour and improve quality of life. 

During the exploration and change phase, core group interventions and individual therapy are offered to address mental health, criminogenic and risk issues.

During the final stage, maintaining change and moving on core group interventions, and individual therapy will continue. During this phase however, relapse prevention for mental health difficulties and the management of future risk are the main focus.  

Individual Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Dialectical Behavioural Therapy are available and delivered according to the specific needs of the patient as identified during the assessment process.

The psychosocial treatment programmes provided by the Stowe team have been developed within the broad framework of ‘Cognitive and Behaviour Psychotherapies’ and are delivered by qualified and trained therapists. These therapeutic approaches place particular emphasis on the importance of creating an effective therapeutic alliance between therapist and patient, on careful case formulation, on the use of behavioural analysis, contingency management, and the development of adaptive coping skills.

Our Location


Each patient will have a care team comprised of a Consultant Psychiatrist, a Speciality Doctor, Nurses and Healthcare Assistants, a Psychologist, Teachers, an Occupational Therapist, a Social Worker, and an Assistant Practitioner. The team also has access to other professionals such as a Dentist, a Physiotherapist, a pharmacist, a Dietician, a Speech and Language Therapist, a Physical Healthcare Nurse, a Self-Care and Body Image Therapist and General Practitioners. Other staff that will facilitate timetabled sessions include OT/TI, Teaching TI and Sport and Recreation Facilitators. Each patient will have a designated Care Co-ordinator.

The multidisciplinary team are skilled in assessing a range of different areas including mental health and mental disorder, cognitive assessment, neurodevelopmental disorders including Autistic Spectrum Conditions and structured risk assessments.


Next steps

With the appropriate support patients would likely step down to Sinclair, or Elgar, our older women’s mental illness service, or Sinclair.

 Kirsty Pape

Kirsty Pape

  • Occupational Therapist
  • I qualified as an Occupational Therapist in 2011
  • Has a strong interest in the Vona du Toit Model of Creative Ability which has recently been implemented on Stowe ward
  • Has experience in working within secure men's, older adult and community mental health teams
 Iain Holland-Hay

Iain Holland-Hay

  • Nurse Manager
  • Has over 10 years experience at St Andrew's, predominantly within medium secure female mental health settings.
  • Has managerial and operational responsibility for the running of the ward and all aspects of its performance
 Katie Cawdell

Katie Cawdell

  • Clinical Nurse Leader
  • TBC
 Sharon Kilby

Sharon Kilby

  • Clinical Nurse Leader
 Jennifer Martin

Jennifer Martin

  • Senior Social Worker
 Dr Samudra Sarkar

Dr Samudra Sarkar

  • Consultant Psychiatrist
  • Completed specialist training in Forensic Psychiatry and has a particular interest in Women’s Mental Health.
  • Practises as a Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist for the Women’s care pathway at St Andrew’s
 Hugo Nel

Hugo Nel

  • Consultant Clinical Psychologist
  • BA, C Psychol, AFBPsS
  • Has over 17 years’ experience as a Clinical Psychologist
  • Expertise in performing detailed and comprehensive psychological and risk assessments across a range of mental health problems
  • Expertise in delivering Psychological Therapy (DBT and CBT) to patients with complex mental health difficulties