Christmas is traditionally a time for friends, family and good cheer, but for many of us Christmas can be a difficult time that adds extra pressure and stress to our lives and can increase feelings of isolation.
This festive season, Southern Health is reminding Hampshire’s residents that they aren’t alone, and that anyone experiencing a mental health crisis can speak to their GP in order to get help from a mental health professional over the Christmas period.
Southern Health has a number of dedicated acute mental health teams across the county, each covering a specific area, all of which will be open 24 hours a day across the festive period - including Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. These teams are all accessed via a patient’s GP. Southampton’s Crisis Lounge will also be open for ‘twilight’ shifts, supporting the city team, A&E and the police from 4.00pm to midnight every day.
For less urgent mental health help, the Trust’s italk service – which provides access to psychological therapies for people suffering from low mood, depression and anxiety – is open as usual over the festive period, Monday to Friday excluding bank holidays. People can self-refer to the service by calling 023 8038 3920, without having to first visit their GP.
As well as these Trust services, there are also a number of Wellbeing Centres* across the county, run by Solent Mind, Andover Mind and Havant & East Hants Mind. The centres offer a friendly, welcoming environment where people can share their mental health experiences, support one another and learn techniques to improve their wellbeing. They will be open over much of the festive period and - whilst most will be closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day - Portsmouth’s Centre will be open to everyone on Christmas Day from 10am to 2pm - find out more here.
Solent Mind has also created a fantastic Winter Wellbeing toolkit for people to download which is available here: www.solentmind.org.uk/news/download-our-new-winter-wellbeing-toolkit/.
Debbie Robinson, Southern Health’s Director of Operations, Mental Health & Learning Disabilities, said: “Christmas can be a lonely time for many people and we want to let our local residents know that we will be offering help and support throughout the festive period.
She added: “Feelings of loneliness, especially around the festive period, can have a negative impact on a person’s mental health, so I urge anyone who is worried about a friend or neighbour being on their own this Christmas to pop in and see them for a quick chat over a cup of tea and a mince pie. This small gesture really could make all the difference.”
Charitable organisation, The Samaritans will also be available to talk to during a crisis, 24 hours a day throughout the Christmas period. The Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123 or by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.