We look after women with challenging behaviour and those who suffer from personality disorders.

We have two women's wards at the Bracton Centre, which support local and national needs as appropriate.

Joydens Ward

Joydens is a forensic mental health facility for women who need care in medium security. We provide 13 beds and are able to offer an experience of supported independent living in the flats above the main ward area, where this supports further progress.

Most patients here have been charged with serious offences or have a history of risk to others. All programmes are provided within the structure of the Mental Health Act. We work closely with the Ministry of Justice and have built up confidence in our clinical decision making.

We provide patient focussed care with a flexible approach dictated by the particular resident's needs and risk profile. Our psychological and occupational therapeutic interventions complement our careful medical care towards optimal recovery within an appropraite time frame. The multidisciplinary team seeks to build a partnership with patients and develop their skills in managing their mental health and offending behaviour.

Heath Ward

Heath Clinic is a 16 bedded, low secure, specialist ward for women with challenging behaviours. Patients are referred to Heath Clinic for having complex and challenging needs and mostly have a diagnosis of mental illness, personality disorder, substance misuse and serious self-harm. The ward accepts referrals from a wide number of settings including acute wards, other low secure units, psychiatric intensive care units (PICU) and prisons.

What is challenging behaviour?

It is behaviour of such intensity, frequency or duration that the physical safety of the person or others is placed in serious jeopardy or behaviour which is likely to seriously limit or deny access to the use of ordinary community facilities.

Women are not referred to Heath because of diagnosis but because of behaviour.

The typical Heath patient will present the following challenging behaviours:
• aggression
• self-harm
• property destruction
• non-compliance
• sexually inappropriate behaviour or
• withdrawal

These behaviours have typically been unmanageable in less secure settings and relate to patients' developmental histories and their primary diagnoses of personality disorder, psychosis or bipolar disorder. These disorders are often aggravated by cognitive difficulties, substance misuse, family dysfunction and low motivation or ability to engage in therapeutic activities.

The management of challenging behaviour is primarily by using an overarching philosophy called “Positive Slant”. This seeks to explore the meaning of challenging behaviours and identify positive strategies to reduce the frequency and intensity. The model can be described further as a simple and flexible behavioural model of care that aims to increase the patient’s capacity to think about themselves, their behaviour and others and helps them to make alternative pro-social choices. This is intended to allow more access to community based resources and finally move on into the community.

This type of care model also provides staff with a tool to interpret even the most distressing behaviours in a creative and optimistic way. In practical terms, this model indirectly focusses on reinforcing positive behaviours whilst giving a modulated response to challenging behaviours. This is achieved within a multidisciplinary framework and with the use of the Care Programme Approach.

The ward is classed as 'low secure ' and is funded by NHS England. 


Average length of stay is 2 years.

Out of area patients -  will be considered for admission, please contact Lawrence Newsome or Jenny Hellman for urgent enquires. Alternatively visit our 'Make a referral' section.