Vital helpline: New Safe Haven service provides hundreds of hours of support in first three months

  • 31 July 2020


A telephone crisis support service launched in May has helped to provide vital mental health support during the coronavirus outbreak.

Since the start of the telephone support service, there has been 665 conversations with vulnerable people, providing a total of 499 hours of care and support.

Many of the people Safe Haven supports will receive regular interaction from the team of five experienced support workers and recovery navigators.

The Safe Haven Centre was due to open in May in Weston super Mare’s town centre to provide a safe space for people in acute emotional distress. Due to Covid-19, the Safe Haven team became telephone-based offering support to people from North Somerset and South Gloucestershire referred by the Avon and Wiltshire Partnership Trust community teams.

The Safe Haven crisis and recovery service is run by mental health charity Second Step and is the first of its kind in North Somerset. The service was co-designed with local service users and clinicians. It operates seven days a week from 4pm-9.45pm. Calls are booked into the Safe Haven clinic diary by AWP Care Coordinators to give people much-needed support and to help them keep safe in the community.

Safe Haven manager Tammie Hemmett said: “We’re doing some really important work supporting people in distress, and I’m so proud of my team and the commitment they’ve given to getting us up and running.

Emmy Watts, Operations Manager for North Somerset, at Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership (AWP) NHS Trust, said:

“Having this service available for our patients to access has been hugely beneficial. Evenings can be particularly difficult for people who are experiencing anxiety, depression, low mood, social isolation and sleep difficulties, and many of the day time services are not available. Having someone to talk to and provide them with information about how to access support may prevent them from going into crisis and needing further treatment.”   

Dr Mike Jenkins, North Somerset GP and Clinical Lead for Weston Worle and Villages Locality, said:

“This out of hours service has been a crucial element of crisis support in the area, during what has been an especially difficult time for many people suffering from emotional distress.

“We know that further challenges lay ahead as the impact from coronavirus on mental health is realised, but it is reassuring to know that we have services like Safe Haven in place to help.”

The service will continue to operate as a telephone service until circumstances allow for face-to-face support to commence. When the centre opens in Weston-super-Mare, it will be available to anyone over the age of 16 within the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire area without referral. However it is expected to be largely used by people from North Somerset, and predominantly Weston, given its location.

The Safe Haven crisis and recovery service was established by Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (BNSSG CCG), in partnership with Avon & Wiltshire Mental Health Trust (AWP),

To find out more about The Safe Haven Centre, visit here.