Oasis of calm helps ease mental health crises for Farnborough residents

A trial scheme to support people who are experiencing mental health crises is proving popular in Farnborough.

The Oasis, in Cove Road, is an out-of-hours drop-in service, which provides people with a safe place, where they can talk to support staff or to each other. This support has been shown to improve people’s conditions and prevent mental health crises.

The service began in April on a six-month trial basis, after local residents and mental health voluntary workers called for this support, stating that there was a need for mental health support in the town.

Dr Nick Hughes, a Farnborough GP and Director of Salus Medical Services Ltd, the area’s GP Federation, said: “We asked local people and mental health service users what support they needed in Farnborough.

“They told us that while there is a very good out-of-hours mental health crisis service at the Safe Haven in Aldershot, something local was needed in Farnborough for someone if they are in crisis.

“We felt there was enough patient need for us to start a service within Farnborough, which we have done on a trial basis. This has been possible through funding from NHS North East Hampshire and Farnham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).”

The service operates from 6.30pm to 9.30pm, seven days a week, at 86 Cove Road. In June The Oasis was visited by 32 people, on 195 separate occasions. The majority of service users were from Farnborough, with others from Aldershot, Frimley and Camberley.

The service is run by Just Wellbeing, which also runs the Young Persons’ Safe Haven, in Aldershot. Judi Page, Director of Just Wellbeing, said: “Our experience shows that for people in mental health crisis, having a service that is nearby and is easy to access is so important.

“In June people came to us on 21 occasions because they were in crisis. We helped to prevent their situations from deteriorating further, meaning they didn’t come to any harm, nor was there a need for them to go to A&E – which can often happen.”

If staff at The Oasis feel that a person needs more clinical psychiatric support, transport is arranged to take the person to the Safe Haven in Aldershot and to bring them back home afterwards.

Dr Andy Whitfield, Clinical Chair of NHS North East Hampshire and Farnham CCG, said: “This service has come about as a direct result of local people approaching us and telling us that there was a need. It is good to see that it has been well received and that it is already making a positive difference to people with mental health problems.”

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