Mental Health Matters (MHM) opens the Thanet safe haven phone line today (April 20) for all residents over the age of 16 who need support.
Phonelines for havens in Canterbury, Medway and Maidstone are also open.
Funded by the Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group, the safe havens were due to open to the public from this month but Government restrictions imposed during this challenging time have meant that is not possible.
However, MHM and Kent and Medway CCG have worked together to ensure a telephone advice line is now available to all residents of the county. Locations will be open to the public when restrictions are lifted and it is safe to do so.
Anyone who lives in Kent or Medway can use the telephone lines.
Sharon Dosanjh, who is head of mental health commissioning at Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “These safe havens are a fantastic addition to the existing mental health support services already available through the NHS and also supports the variety of campaigns nationally and locally which encourage people to reach out and talk about mental health.
“These safe havens are an important step to ensuring improved mental health support across our communities, preventing people from reaching crisis or needing to be admitted to hospital.”
The safe havens were announced at a mental health summit in Margate last September and had been revealed by The Isle of Thanet News the previous month.
A £3.6 million increase in the mental health budget for Kent from NHS England had also been confirmed.
People aged 16+ can use the service to access immediate support if they are feeling distressed, frightened, overwhelmed, feel like things are getting too much for them, perhaps feel suicidal or thoughts of hurting themselves, if they are isolated or are in crisis.
Kent Safe Havens service is free and there’s no referral needed, it is easily accessible, the staff are skilled and experienced, they offer a non-judgemental environment.
Kent county councillor Karen Constantine, who headed a campaign for improved mental health services in Thanet, said: ““I’m delighted that we finally have this support in place. It couldn’t have come at a better time. We need to ensure that people are aware of this service I’m encouraging everyone to spread the word.”
Use the Safe Haven service
Opening times: 6pm-11pm, 365 days a year.
If you are feeling distressed, overwhelmed, or that things are too much and you don’t know where to turn to get support in the evening, then MHM Safe Havens provide:
- A welcoming, safe, comfortable, non-judgmental and non-clinical environment.
- Emphasising on reducing immediate distress, and supporting people to access services and opportunities available to them in the wider community.
- Access one-to-one emotional support from trained mental health professionals.
Reach the Thanet Safe Haven team at Thanet.firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07850 655877
Further information can be found on our website– www.mhm.org.uk