Women's Mental Health services

Our services are specially designed for women, including post-operative transsexuals, over the age of 18 with Mental Health, Personality Disorders and complex needs. These include women who might be a danger to themselves or others, or have committed serious offences. 

The pathway provides more than 200 beds across three sites in Northampton, Essex and Birmingham within medium, low and non secure units. The units are aligned along sub-pathways for Personality Disorder, Psychosis and related mental illness. Our facilities, activities, therapies and services are designed with women in mind, including places they can see their children, and are sensitive to traumatic experiences they may have had previously.

We believe all patients should be treated with dignity and respect and cared for in the most suitable and least restrictive environment to address their clinical needs and risks. We design care for the individual, not just the condition, and we pride ourselves on our specialised, personalised approach. 

We want all women in our care to have the right treatment and support to be able to move into an environment of a lower security, and eventually return to the community.


Within the first 12 weeks of admission, patients are able to engage in the routine therapeutic activities that take place across the service. These activities are offered by nursing staff, occupational therapists, psychology staff, medical staff, the social work team and the education service. Throughout, emphasis is placed on promoting structure, reinforcing and developing strengths, developing adaptive functioning and coping skills, increase wellbeing and autonomy and reducing risk.

There are two parts to our Women’s Mental Health services:
1. Personality Disorder
2. Mental Illness 

Both parts offer care and treatment sensitive to each patient's individual needs.

Women with mental illness: Our specialist services

For women with mental illness, we have a dedicated service which provides specialist care and treatment across medium, low and locked environments in Essex, Northampton and Birmingham, enabling women to be closer to their home area where possible.

We support women with:

  • Severe and enduring mental health disorders
  • Complex needs
  • Psychosis
  • Schizophrenia
  • Co-morbid mild learning disabilities


Women's Blended Secure Service: Reducing secure length of stay

St Andrew's Healthcare is one of three hospital sites chosen by NHS England to pilot a Women's Blended Secure Service. Our blended service aims to reduce length of stay by providing an innovative model of care in one ward environment negating the need for secure transitions between medium and low security levels. The service is designed to offer a better experience for women with a clear emphasis on recovery and progression.


Personality disorder: break the cycle

Specifically for women over the age of 18 with personality disorder (PD), St Andrew’s Healthcare delivers comprehensive Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) across the PD sector of our women’s mental health service, from medium secure through to a unique pre-discharge step in hostel-like accommodation.

By using strategies of both acceptance and change, our DBT programme teaches patients the skills necessary to both regulate and change their emotions, helping break the cycle of selective-destructive behaviours.