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Birmingham and Solihull Mental health NHS Foundation Trust
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Anawim: The Mental Health Alternatives to Custody Project

The Mental Health Alternatives to Custody project has seen the successful collaboration of Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, Staffordshire and West Midlands Probation Service, Anawim (voluntary sector women’s service) and the courts, to increase alternatives to custody for women with complex needs, mental health and offending behaviour.

The report provides an overview of the Mental Health Alternatives to Custody Pilot Project and the use of mental health treatment requirements. It also gives a description of the service user profiles and an overall broad outcome evaluation based on the available data of the service provided. The report then investigates the potential cost savings generated by the pilot project using case examples in the areas of mental health, criminal justice, housing, child-care and substance misuse. It also describes the additional work conducted by the Anawim team before drawing conclusions and recommendations for future reports and development of the service.

This preliminary evaluation report illustrates a positive impact in numerous areas of the women’s lives, including the significant improvements in psychological and physical health and crime reduction.  The report has contributed to building a case for future developments and generated positive discussion as how to progress the project effectively with partnership agencies. It has presented a case for continued funding of the Anawim Mental Health Alternatives to Custody Project in order to continue to build on the achievements to date.