Virtual safe havens launch to support people with mental health crises through the pandemic

People facing a mental health crisis who are not able to visit an out-of-hours Safe Haven for support and expert advice due to the Coronavirus pandemic are being offered a new, virtual service.

The new mental health crisis service is being offered by each of the five Safe Havens across Surrey and North East Hampshire. Safe Havens are staffed by mental health nurses and mental health practitioners. They provide adults in crisis with expert advice and support in the evenings and at weekends. They are continuing to see people in person from 6pm-11pm seven days a week but they are also now offering a virtual service during the same hours.

Click here for details of the service in North East Hampshire and Farnham.

This means people who are self-isolating due to the Coronavirus pandemic or who are in a vulnerable group or shielding or who may be just very anxious about travelling, will now be able to access help from their nearest Safe Haven without leaving home. This will help to ensure people receive timely support and also avoid unnecessary visits outside of the home, including to A&E.

The Safe Havens are run in partnership between Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and third sector mental health specialists, Catalyst, Andover Mind, Mary Frances Trust and Richmond Fellowship. They are funded by Surrey and North East Hampshire NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups.

Stanley Masawi, Manager of Adult Mental Health Services, said: “We know there are people who need our support who are not coming forward at the moment because of concerns about contracting the Coronavirus. They may be in a vulnerable group or they might be shielding a person or they may just be generally very anxious about leaving their home or using public transport to get to a Safe Haven. This new virtual Safe Haven service means we can still reach them and provide the support they need.”

Each of the Safe Havens is providing the virtual service. To access these services, go to www.sabp.nhs.uk/safehaven and scroll down to ‘Virtual Safe Havens’ where they will find links that take them to their nearest virtual Safe Haven service. The Safe Havens are based in Epsom, Guildford, Redhill, Woking and Aldershot. Once they click on a link, they will be directed as to how to use the virtual service. They will then be taken into a virtual waiting room before being ‘seen’ by one of the members of their local Safe Haven team. The virtual service is operational from 6pm-11pm, seven days a week.

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