Spotlight

Crisis Safe Space expects to save lives this Christmas in Somerset

This Christmas people’s mental health and wellbeing are the priority for health leaders in Somerset.

Crisis Safe Space – part of Open Mental Health (an alliance of mental health organisations) is open throughout Christmas offering out of hours support to anyone over 18 in crisis.

With mental health need on the rise as a result of the pandemic, further impacted by the current cost-of-living crisis these safe spaces are likely to prove vital lifeline over the coming weeks for people who struggling with their mental health.

So far this year 1,482 people have used this life-saving service in Somerset.

Data from April 22 shows that while the main three concerns people have been anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts, the range of worries and challenges people are facing is incredibly broad.  The most important thing is that no matter what people are struggling with, dedicated mental health support is there for them.

Traditionally the festive period can be a very difficult time for people and this year the rising cost of living is also having an impact on people’s mental health. Often people in need of support struggle to know where to go and who to talk to, but it doesn’t need to be this way.

Open Mental health is an alliance of mental health organisations who provide a single point of access for mental health support across Somerset, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This support provides everyone, even those who may not feel like they are in crisis, with a place to go no matter their mental health need.

At this time of year when certain health services may not be operating as normal, making sure people know there is someone ready to listen no matter the time, is especially important. Crisis Safe Spaces also provide vital out-of-hours support for those in mental health crisis, providing people with somewhere they can go for dedicated, non-judgemental support.

Chris Malin who previously had support through a Crisis Safe Space himself is now working there as a trained peer volunteer helping others in crisis.

He said: “Christmas can be a difficult time. I know in the past I have not enjoyed Christmas; you try to be happy for others, but inside you are crying. Even if you’re with your family, you can feel alone.”

“Crisis Safe Space helped me when I was in a bad place and close to suicide. I felt really listened to and was given support and tools like creating a safety plan and a wellbeing plan and that really helped me.”

“I now work at the service as a peer volunteer, I’m able to say, I know how this feels and I can say you will get there. I love giving back to a service that helped me so much.”

Shane Weller, Crisis Safe Space Senior Recovery Navigator, said: “Crisis Safe Space is open out of hours throughout Christmas offering zoom or phone support to anyone over 18 in crisis in Somerset. We have 90-minute slots, and you are likely to be able to speak to someone on the day you call.

There is no triage system, if you want support, we are here to give it to you. We’re taking the pressure off our GPs and our A&E giving you help from skilled workers who all have their own lived experience.”

Mindline - Open Mental Health’s 24/7 helpline - is open all day every day to take your call if you are in crisis. They can refer onto Crisis Safe Space and other mental health services. The number to call is: 01823 276892 or 0800 138 1692