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Guiding Through Crisis: Andover Mind’s Safe Haven Provides Essential Support in Hampshire

The Safe Haven in Basingstoke, operated by Andover Mind, is a vital out-of-hours crisis service catering to the mental health needs of individuals in North and Mid Hampshire.

The service covers a wide region, including Andover, Winchester, and Alton, ensuring that individuals in these areas have access to support when they need it the most.

The Safe Haven operates from 6pm to 10pm every day of the year, including bank holidays, and does not require a referral or appointment, making it easily accessible to those in crisis.

This service primarily targets adults and carers aged 18 and above who are experiencing a mental health crisis or emotional distress. Recognizing that crisis can be self-defined, the Safe Haven welcomes individuals who feel they have nowhere else to turn. Whether individuals are facing difficulties related to their mental health or are overwhelmed by emotional distress, the Safe Haven is there to provide the necessary support.

There are multiple ways to access the service. Individuals can visit the center located at 3 Vyne Road, Basingstoke, RG21 5NL, where they will find a peaceful and comfortable environment. The premises are designed to foster a sense of calm, featuring low lighting, cozy seating, and fidget toys for relaxation. Upon arrival, individuals are warmly welcomed and offered a hot or cold beverage.

Alternatively, individuals can reach out to the Safe Haven by calling 0300 303 5772 or utilizing the virtual platform Attend Anywhere, which can be accessed through this link: https://www.andovermind.org.uk/services/north-and-mid-hampshire-safe-haven/.

Once individuals connect with the practitioners at the Safe Haven, they can expect a compassionate and non-judgmental approach in a safe and confidential environment. The practitioners provide practical and emotional support tailored to each person’s needs. They also offer guidance and signposting to other organizations that may be able to assist individuals in their journey towards mental well-being.

The Safe Haven is a collaborative effort between statutory mental health services and the charity sector, embodying the principles laid out in the NHS Five Year Forward Plan. This partnership aims to address the need for out-of-hours crisis support, suicide reduction, increased involvement of voluntary and community organizations, and the expansion of the peer support workforce.

The establishment of the Safe Haven was influenced by the invaluable input of the Service-User Advisory Panel, whose insights played a crucial role in its inception. Feedback from the panel continues to shape and enhance the service, ensuring that it remains responsive to the needs of the community it serves.

While Andover Mind operates the Safe Haven, it works in close partnership with the Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust. Although the Safe Haven and Southern Health staff do not work directly on shifts together, there is constant communication with the crisis team. Each shift at the Safe Haven is staffed by a qualified nurse from the crisis team, ensuring the presence of medical expertise when required.

Testimonials from individuals who have sought support at the Safe Haven reflect its impact. One individual shares, “By far the best support I’ve ever had. I’ve seen doctors, psychiatrists, support workers, but Safe Haven is the one that’s helped me the most. I wish that the Safe Haven was around a long time ago.” Another individual states, “The Safe Haven has taught me a lot. The staff are very supportive, and I find it is a safe place to be.”

The Safe Haven serves as an alternative to the often overwhelming environment of an emergency department (A&E). By providing a non-clinical setting that is calming, quiet, and person-centered, the service aims to deescalate feelings of crisis more quickly. Additionally, the practitioners offer practical techniques such as breathing exercises, mindfulness, and grounding exercises to aid individuals in managing their mental health effectively. The Safe Haven is committed to being person-centered and tailors its support to the unique needs of each individual, whether that entails providing a listening ear, quiet companionship, or empowering individuals with practical skills to maintain their mental well-being.

Basingstoke was selected as the central location for the Safe Haven, but the service acknowledges the possibility of expanding to other areas if the need arises. The service collects anonymized data to gather insights that will shape and influence its future. Should the data identify a greater demand for Safe Havens in different locations, the service hopes to see such expansion become a reality, ensuring more individuals struggling with their mental health receive the support they need.

With two newly appointed Development Leads, the Safe Haven actively seeks to connect with organizations and individuals interested in learning more about the service. These roles are dedicated to raising awareness about the services provided and reaching out to the entire geographical area covered by the Safe Haven, promoting accessibility and understanding of the support available.

The Safe Haven in Basingstoke stands as a beacon of hope and support for individuals experiencing mental health crises or emotional distress in North and Mid Hampshire. Through its compassionate and comprehensive approach, the service is making a significant impact on the well-being of the community it serves, providing a vital lifeline during challenging times.