Don’t suffer in silence: mental health services in Portsmouth
23 June 2020

Don’t suffer in silence – there is a lot of help and support available in Portsmouth for anyone experiencing mental health problems.

Dr Nick Moore, a city GP and executive member of NHS Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Covid-19 has obviously had a major impact on life but it’s important to look after your mental health, even if lockdown restrictions are eased.

“We know that social distancing and self-isolating has clearly affected a lot of people in different ways.

“The NHS has had to change the way it does a number of things to ensure that it continues to offer services.

“Some of the ways you can access mental health services, and the support they offer, has had to change due to social distancing requirements – but these services are still very much open for business, and people can – and should – continue to get in touch. Please don’t suffer in silence.”

Online information – Every Mind Matters has some useful online links to help with mental wellbeing while staying at home, tips if you are worried about coronavirus and advice to help with stress, anxiety, sleep and low mood. Visit www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters

Positive Minds

Positive Minds offers hope and support for city residents struggling to cope with difficulties and distress. If you are in despair about anything – such as housing, money, relationships, work, bereavement, leaving the armed forces or living away from home at university – or suffering low mood, anxiety, or a feeling of hopelessness, they can help.

It now offers telephone support from trained Wellbeing Advisors (call 023 9282 4795 Monday to Thursday: 9.30am-4.30pm, Friday: 9.30am-4pm).

Its website also links to 'Ten tips to help if you are worried about coronavirus': https://www.positivemindsportsmouth.org.uk/ 

Talking Change

Talking Change is a team of psychotherapists and researchers which specialises in the understanding and treatment of common emotional difficulties.

If you've been struggling with low mood or anxiety, or with a physical condition such as chronic pain or fatigue, talking therapies can help you cope and feel better. The service also provides support at work, and help towards finding employment or training.

It offers a free service, and you can refer yourself by phoning 0300 123 4125 or completing an online form at https://www.talkingchange.nhs.uk/

Talking Change continues to offer talking therapies which are scientifically proven to help improve emotional wellbeing, but these are now delivered remotely either via telephone, online based therapies or video calls – whichever suits you best. 

GPs

Your GP is still open, if you need to renew or change your medication get in touch with them. GPs across the city are using more technology to triage appointments, provide video call consultations wherever possible, and answer queries via e-consult. Check your surgeries website for the best way to contact them, or if you don’t have internet access continue to use the main practice telephone number.

Secondary care mental health services are still supporting people, with the majority of support being provided remotely. You can still contact your mental health team by telephone, email or letter.

Solent NHS Trust did need to pause briefly some activity, particularly group work, whilst it established new ways of working, but these are now back up and running and have been for some time. No services have been completely shut, and support to those most in need has been increased by up-scaling intensive case management teams in community services.

Closer working between Crisis Teams, Assessment to Intervention (A2i) and the Mental Health Liaison Team is also underway to support the acute hospital and reduce the number of people presenting at the Emergency Department with mental health needs.

Whilst most contacts are being completed virtually, people will still be seen face-to-face where necessary, and if it is safe to do so. In these instances staff and patients will uphold good hygiene practices, maintain social distancing, and may also use face masks.

Patient safety remains the Trust’s top priority, and government guidance will continue to be followed. Recent guidance states that all patients attending hospitals will need to wear a face covering, which includes the St Mary’s site. 

111/999

If you are in a crisis or need urgent support and do not know what to do, phone 111 to speak to a mental health professional who will be able to provide mental health advice and guidance, and put you in contact with any on-going services you may need.

Hospitals continue be extremely busy, so please only call 999 or go to an Accident and Emergency Department in life threatening, or dangerous situations. 

Older Person’s Mental Health

Remind

The Remind team continues to deliver an advice and support service to dementia patients and their carers across the Portsmouth area via telephone. Call 033 0332 4030 or visit https://www.solentmind.org.uk/our-services/remind-dementia-support-in-portsmouth/ to find out more.

Memory Monitoring Clinics

Completing a full memory assessment needs to be conducted in person. Understandably many older adults have asked not to be seen during this time due to their vulnerability to COVID 19.

Where an assessment is not urgent and can safely wait, a patient’s choice is respected and they can be referred when they are happy to be seen. For patients who are being seen, Solent NHS Trust continues to follow national guidance to ensure this is carried out safely, at a distance where possible and with staff wearing the appropriate PPE. 

Carers Centre

The Carers Service is here to support all carers. The person you look after doesn't need a formal diagnosis and you don’t need to be claiming carers allowance to use the service.

The Carers Centre building is closed to the public. Teams are still working, but will be relying on the phone and online tools to keep in touch with carers across the city.

To get in contact call 023 9285 1864 (open between 8am and 4pm) or email carerscentre@portsmouthcc.gov.uk  

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