Priory opens expanded, fast-access mental health clinic in Southampton to meet demand – with a focus on children & adults seeking an autism diagnosis

Date: 21st July 2023

  • The relocated Wellbeing Centre opens to all patients in August 2023
  • Priory has invested £100,000 in the move to a significantly larger facility
  • New figures suggest around 16% of children living in Southampton are struggling with their mental health - up from 10.5% in 2017
  • The increase was ‘in part due’ to the aftermath of the pandemic, and the impact of the cost-of-living crisis
  • Priory will offer wider access to an expert diagnosis of mental health conditions and those who may be on the autistic spectrum

Priory, which operates the largest independent network of mental healthcare hospitals and clinics in the UK, is expanding its Southampton services to meet demand – including for autism diagnoses.

Its Wellbeing Centre has relocated from the city centre, where it successfully launched in 2016, to larger premises, providing greater access to diagnostic services, treatments, and therapy sessions, particularly for autism.

As of March 2023, 157,579 people were waiting for an autism assessment in England, according to NHS data, a 35% increase in the number of people waiting in just one year.

NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) guidance states that no-one should wait longer than three months between being referred and first being seen. But this data shows that the vast majority of people, 84%, have been waiting longer than 13 weeks.

Separate figures from mental health charity YoungMinds show almost one and a half million children were referred to mental health services in 2022. Figures show they surged by 79 per cent compared with pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

To meet the growing demand along the South Coast, the Wellbeing Centre – now on the site of Priory’s former Manor Clinic – will provide a greater range of consultant and therapist-led outpatient services. As it has done before, the service will offer patient appointments quickly following referral, with a flexible approach to accessing treatment.

The centre has eight large rooms for group therapy sessions, and a garden space for outdoor activities. It will also have a number of new practitioners joining the team.

Located on Mansbridge Road, SO18 3HW (and within easy reach of the City centre, motorway and airport), it will be regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). It is staffed by best-in-class consultant psychiatrists, psychologists and a range of individual, group and family therapists, providing treatments for a broad range of mental health conditions including depression, anxiety, stress, addiction, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) as well as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) bereavement and grief.  There are rooms specifically designed to help support children, and are designed to be friendly and comforting spaces.

It will also specialise in the diagnosis of autism in both adults and children. The centre accepts self-funding patients and those with health insurance. Too often people do not realise their health insurance will cover a mental health assessment and treatment.

Clare Gask, Clinical Lead at the Southampton Wellbeing Centre, said; “Our team is delighted to be opening this much needed clinic to allow swift assessment and treatment. For those living on the South Coast, we know there has been a gap in provision for many patients for some time.

“Our ethos has always been to promote the importance of early assessment and diagnosis. We hope that by offering a friendly and discreet service that is accessible and convenient, we can play an active part in supporting and navigating our patients towards a better quality of life and long-term recovery.”

The new centre allows outpatients access to one-to-one therapy, group sessions and evidence-based treatment methods, such as EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing). This treatment technique can be especially effective in helping patients with PTSD, phobias, and self-esteem issues.

The Wellbeing Centre will retain close links with the addiction centres at Priory Hospital Woking and Life Works, to facilitate a smooth transition to comprehensive inpatient care, if more intensive or specialist support is required.

Clare added: “I’m delighted to be a part of the leadership team at our new Priory Wellbeing Centre Southampton and am particularly proud of the difference we will make in the provision and acceleration of much needed Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and in the diagnosis of autism and other conditions.”



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About Priory and MEDIAN

Priory is the UK’s leading independent provider of mental health services. We treat more than 70 conditions, including depression, anxiety, addictions and eating disorders, as well as children’s mental health, across our nationwide network of sites. We also support autistic adults and adults with a learning disability, Prader-Willi Syndrome and brain injuries, as well as older people, within our specialist residential care and supported living facilities – helping as many people as possible to live their lives.

Priory is part of the MEDIAN Group, one of Europe’s leading providers of high quality mental health and rehabilitation services. The MEDIAN Group comprises 290 facilities with 5,000 beds caring for 28,000 people in the UK, 120 facilities with 20,000 beds caring for around 250,000 patients in Germany, and 15 facilities with 2,000 beds caring for 13,000 people in Spain, with more than 29,000 employees overall.

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