ICB stresses importance of reaching out at first sign of mental health worries

People in Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire who have lived through a mental health crisis are urging others to make use of the help available throughout the region at the very first sign of things getting too much.

Opening up and talking to someone – be it a friend, loved-one or healthcare worker – can, in most cases, reduce anxiety and release tension, while also providing the support needed to avoid a more significant mental health crisis.

Across the local area, many services are actively encouraging people, especially those who may have never had a mental health concern before, to get in touch if any aspect of everyday life is becoming an issue.

The Breathing Space, which is open to any person living in Bath and North East Somerset, offers a friendly ear to anyone needing to talk about their current wellbeing.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Breathing Space has moved to a telephone-based service, and can be accessed every day between 5.30pm and 11.30pm on 01225 983130.

A similar support outlet is also available in Wiltshire through the Riverside Sanctuary in Salisbury which, between 3pm and 11pm each day, helps people to use their own tools and resources to constructively manage their own mental health.

The service accepts self-referrals, and can be reached by calling 01722 466680.

In Swindon, any person worried about having a mental health crisis can get help from the team working at the Junction which, although based in the former town hall in Regent Circus, is now offering one-to-one telephone support each day between 4pm and 11pm.

Further information on the Junction can be found by calling 01793 286506.

All of the mental health services listed above are funded through Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Integrated Care Board.

Caroline Mellers, who is working with the ICB to provide better support for people in mental health crisis, said: “At times in my life, I have felt hopeless, worthless and like nobody understood me, but asking for help and sharing how I was feeling allowed me to unlock the help I knew I needed, and that gave me a sense of wellbeing again.

“These last few months have been tough for everybody and some people may have been affected by dramatic changes to their physical, emotional and financial wellbeing, all of which can affect mental health.

“If this sounds familiar, it’s important to know that it’s OK to feel this way and that help is available.

“I know the importance of reaching out for support early on and would definitely not think twice about acting quickly if there was ever a next time.”

Additionally, and in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, a 24/7 telephone helpline for both adults and children struggling with the current situation has been launched by Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust and can be reached by calling 0300 303 1320.

Instant help for any person feeling overwhelmed, alone or unable to cope is available 24 hours a day from the Samaritans by calling 116 123.