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Vital Mental Health Support in the Community this Christmas

Posted Tuesday, 05 December 2017, 1.54pm

Cumbria’s only dedicated mental health information phone line, MindLine Cumbria has extended its opening hours in the lead up to Christmas 2017.

MindLine Cumbria provides vital guidance, advice and emotional support to thousands of people across the county and the charities that run it are determined that no call will go unanswered this Christmas.

Research published by the mental health charity, Mind, has found that one in ten people feel unable to cope at Christmas, rising to a third of people with a mental health problem. Additionally, over a quarter of people feel the pressure to have the ‘perfect Christmas’, increasing to half of those with a mental health problem. More than a third (36 percent) of people with mental health problems have self-harmed to cope with the pressure of Christmas.

Carlisle Eden Mind launched a new service earlier this year which provides face to face support to anyone feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope every night of the year.

The Lighthouse, located in Carlisle City Centre, is a calm, safe and comfortable place for people in Carlisle and Eden to visit when they are experiencing crisis, feeling unsafe or finding it hard to cope.

Tara Quinn, Chief Officer at Carlisle Eden Mind said “The Lighthouse has been a life line to so many people in the Carlisle and Eden districts already this year and we anticipate the demand for the service to grow as Christmas approaches. Through The Lighthouse we are able to offer support to people experiencing mental health crisis every night of the year, when many other services are closed.

The service is in partnership with the Glenmore Trust and is part of a wider piece of work involving the NHS, Cumbria Police and social care providers called the Multi Agency Assessment Service (MACAS).

A visitor to The Lighthouse expressed what the new service means to her: “The Lighthouse is a total gem - I've used it a couple of times when I've been really struggling and currently still am.

I rang just after the telephone line opened and was really scared the first time, as I don't like making phone calls but the lady on the other end of the phone couldn't have been nicer. She arranged for me to visit their office - although it's not like an office. I got the chance to talk to someone about my problems in a cosy environment with somebody who never judged me. This vital service is essential. For myself, this is the worst time of the year and I can see myself using the service in the lead up to Christmas.”

The Lighthouse is a crisis hub connected to a wide range of resources. “We have the knowledge and contacts to support people to overcome hardship and social crisis such as relationship breakdown, insecure housing, debt and enduring loneliness. Issues which health services cannot address and issues that the majority of our visitors are impacted by.

The Lighthouse can offer sufficient time and space for visitors to share, or unravel, their story and their situation when other agencies have limited time. Sometimes it takes quite a number of visits or calls for the person in crisis to reveal what is happening for them and to get to a point of starting to structure support to move on.” added Manager, Chris Graham.

As well as staff from Carlisle Eden Mind and The Glenmore Trust, The Lighthouse relies on a hardworking team of volunteers. Rod Anderson, Volunteer Support Worker said ‘Peer Support Volunteers are a vital ingredient to The Lighthouse Service. The majority of our Lighthouse Volunteers have had personal experience of mental health problems and crisis. As a result, in some cases, our visitors open up more quickly and develop trust more readily with these volunteers than with our staff. Our Peer Support Volunteers also, importantly, offer hope of recovery.

To book a visit to The Lighthouse, call 0300 561 0000

You can also contact the service via Text, Email or Webchat.

Text ‘Mind, The Lighthouse’ to 81066
Email info@MindLineCumbria.org
Visit www.MindLineCumbria.org

MindLine Cumbria is open from 12pm – 11.30pm Monday to Friday and 5pm – 11.30pm Saturday and Sunday.

The Lighthouse is open 6pm – 11.30pm, every night of the year.

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