Mental health services open 24/7 during Christmas and new year

21st December 2020

Dorset’s Access Mental Health services will be open to provide support during Christmas and new year for people who are anxious, struggling to cope or feel they are heading towards a crisis.

Led by Dorset HealthCare, the service offers round-the-clock help and advice to those in need both over the phone and virtually during the holiday period.

Services include:

  • Connection – a 24/7 telephone helpline (0800 652 0190), which can provide direct help or signpost you to a range of other services
  • The Retreats – currently running as virtual drop-ins every day. Bournemouth from midday until midnight and Dorchester 4.30pm until midnight. They run in partnership with the Dorset Mental Health Forum and provides a way to talk through your problems with mental health workers or peer specialists
  • Community Front Rooms – drop-in support services are available virtually from 3.45-10.45pm Thursday - Sunday in Bridport and Shaftsbury, and seven days a week in Wareham. They are run by local charities – The Burrough Harmony Centre (Bridport), Hope (Shaftesbury) and Bournemouth Churches Housing Association (Wareham) – and you are able to talk to mental health professionals and peer support workers.

The Retreat and Community Front Rooms are for people aged 18 and over, and you don’t need an appointment. Just visit to access a virtual drop-in.

And people of any age can call Connection, at any time. If you require urgent clinical help, staff can arrange an assessment within four hours.

Tracey Marshall, Dorset HealthCare’s Crisis and Acute Community Services Manager, said: 

“This year has been a particular challenging time for people’s mental health, with COVID-19 significantly affecting how we feel and the things we would normally do day-to-day.

“And, this time of year may be even more overwhelming than usual in the current circumstances.

“Whatever your situation, our Access Mental Health services are here to support you and will be running over the festive period so people can get the help they need, at the exact time they need it. They can talk to mental health staff and peer specialists, people with their own experience of such issues, and find the solutions which can help them.”

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