The Safe Haven provides an evening and weekend drop-in service for people who need mental health support out of hours. Wessex AHSN undertook an evaluation of the service as part of the Happy, Healthy, at Home Vanguard in North East Hampshire and Farnham.
The service was established in April 2014 as an alternative to Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust Emergency Department (ED) to support people aged 18 years and over, who are, or could be, developing a mental health crisis.
The service is based in the Wellbeing Centre in the middle of Aldershot and is accessible by public transport. It allows individuals to drop in without an appointment, and provides the opportunity for both professional and peer support. The Safe Haven is open 365 days a year:
NHS staff, along with voluntary sector partners, are on site to provide crisis support and to help people maintain their mental health, with the aim of avoiding the need for emergency NHS care.
The evaluation of the Safe Haven service in Aldershot, Hampshire forms part of the independent evaluation of the Happy, Healthy, at Home Vanguard in North East Hampshire and Farnham, being undertaken by the Wessex Academic Health Science Network.
The Safe Haven evaluation examined the service’s impact on service user experience, healthcare utilisation, mental health related calls to the police, police deployments, and section 136 suite detentions.
Data was provided by the Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, the Hampshire Constabulary, and by the service itself, which had collected service user feedback through an onsite iPad questionnaire.
The data was compiled, processed, and analysed with the support of the NHS South, Central and West Commissioning Support Unit (CSU) and two reports were produced; an initial interim report, and a final evaluation report, which looked at the service over an extended period.
Findings from the evaluation show:
“We are getting much better at ensuring the appropriate response comes from the most appropriate agency. In the Hart and Rushmoor area, that would include referrals to the Safe Haven.” - Inspector Huw Griffiths, Hampshire Constabulary Mental Health Lead
“They calmed me down when I had made plans to end it. [The member of staff] was very calming and listened. [They] gave me hope.” – Service User
“Things had got so bad that I didn't know where to turn and was feeling very alone and isolated. The Safe Haven helped to give me somewhere I could go to keep myself safe until I can see my GP” – Service User
Key to the service’s success:
To read the report in full please click here or refer to the resources section on the right-hand side of this page.
If you are concerned about yourself or a loved one, NHS Choices provides details of helplines that can offer expert advice. Visit: NHS Choices - Mental Health Helplines
The small photograph displayed at the top of this page was taken at the Aldershot Safe Haven Cafe for a report published in The Guardian in December 2015. The photograph was kindly provided by photographer James Drew Turner | The Guardian.