The Safe Haven in Aldershot has been open year-round since 2014, operating as an evening drop-in, where people can go if they need support.
The cafe is open 6pm-11pm Monday-Friday and 12.30pm-11pm on weekends and bank holidays. During these hours, trained psychiatric nurses, NHS workers and voluntary sector partners are on site to provide crisis support.
Anyone suffering from a mental health problem, whether diagnosed or not, can drop in for a cup of tea and a chat and can request more formal help if needed.
Dr Andy Whitfield, clinical chair at North East Hampshire and Farnham clinical commissioning group (CCG), said: “We asked service users what they wanted and this was their idea.”
The average number of attendances at the Safe Haven has jumped from 167 each month between April to June last year, to 415 in the same period in 2015. Moreover, 95% of users' feedback was positive.
A separate study carried out for the services provider, Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (SABP), by Mental Health Strategies found that from April to October 2014, the number of admissions to acute in-patient psychiatric beds fell by 33% from within the ‘Safe Haven’ catchment area.
Whitfield added: “The cafe is an excellent example of the NHS Five Year Forward View in action. It shows partners from all sectors working together to provide a service that is close to people’s homes, easy to access at times of need and clearly filling a gap in provision.”
The cafe is part of the North East Hampshire and Farnham Vanguard which aims to keep people “Happy, Healthy and at Home” and is funded through NHS North East Hampshire and Farnham CCG and delivered by Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, in collaboration with the charities MCCH (commissioned by Hampshire County Council) and Catalyst.
Watch a short film about the cafe here.