Women's mental health - transitional community living

Watkins House provides rehabilitative step-down care in the community for women with complex mental illness. Based on a quiet estate five minutes from St Andrew's Northampton site, both houses offer a transitional environment where we can support people to test their skills, improve their confidence and build community links with a view to them moving to more independent living.

Here's what one of our service users said about Watkin's House;

'I really love my room with en-suite, it's homely and not like living in hospital' 

Preparing for the community

For some women a direct move back to the community from medium and blended secure wards can be a daunting step. By enabling our MDT to continue with therapeutic work, combined with the development of independent living skills, service users in Watkins House will significantly improve the likelihood of their successful transition to a full community placement.

To bridge the gap between a more structured secure environment, and a full return to community living these settings provide a homely service, located in close proximity to our Northampton Women's service and the town centre, allowing us to test greater levels of autonomy and personal responsibility.

Our qualified nurses and social work teams have established links with local support groups and supported living providers to facilitate individual transitions.

bedroom web

Homely bedrooms

dining room web v2

Sociable dining room

Living room web

Comfortable living area

Bathroom web


kitchen web

Large kitchen for learning skills of daily living

Admission criteria

• Women aged 18 years and over
• With severe and enduring mental illness
• Who may have a mild learning disability as a secondary diagnosis
• Who may have a forensic history
• Who may have behaviours that challenge but have been risk free for 3-6 months
• Who are detained under the Mental Health Act 1983 amended 2007
• Who are under Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLs), informal or voluntary registered
• And who are ready to engage in therapeutic treatment and care

Treatment programme

Treatment, therapy and activity programmes are designed around the needs, interests and goals of each individual person. The programmes are focussed around community integration and building the skills necessary to support more independent community living.

Our nursing teams facilitate people to access a number of activities in the community. Watkins House is also close to St Andrew's vocational pathway, Workbridge which provides training and social opportunities supported by vocational skills instructors. Departments ranging from ceramics to woodwork, horticulture to office skills allow service users to learn both life and work skills, building confidence and social capability in the process.

The products made in the workshop sessions are sold in the public facing garden centre, charity and coffee shop where service users can also work, meeting the public and gaining retail experience.

Our ceramics department creates a range of items for sale in the public facing garden centre and coffee shop where service users can also gain valuable work experience.

To monitor the effectiveness of our care we use the following clinical outcome tools:

HoNoS - Health of the Nation Outcomes Scale

CAMFOR  - Camberwell Assessment of Need Forensic Version

Safety Assessment and Risk Planning Tools