Folkestone haven – Supporting and Enabling the community
The Folkestone Haven is a new initiative, set up to support anyone who is in a self-defined mental health crisis. Anyone can use the service; if you are in distress, living with anxiety, or known to the local mental health trust and on the edge of relapse. The Folkestone Haven is a telephone and online support network whilst the Covid 19 situation advises social distancing. In the future, it will offer a personal service as well. Gayle Lowery-Jones spoke to spoke to Folkelife about the service.
Hestia – life beyond crisis
“I am the Regional Manager of Operations for Hestia which has been supporting people in crisis for 50 years. We work across the South East, enabling people to recover from crisis in their lives. It could be anxiety, depression, or substance abuse. The Folkestone Haven is there for anyone who may never have used a mental health service before, you might not even know that services exist. But if you are suffering, worried or anxious and feeling that you are not able to cope, then that’s what we’re here for.
“Our plan was to open a personal service at the Rainbow Centre in Folkestone. We will be open when the Rainbow Centre is shut, and offering services to anyone, not just people associated with homelessness. However, with the government advice to stay indoors, and to maintain social distancing, we have launched our online and phone service. The personal service will follow later, when it’s safe to do so.”
safety, trust and resilience
The Folkestone Haven has trained staff and volunteers who are there to help people de-escalate from their situation. “We aim for people to feel as safe as possible, to trust us, and to talk to us about what’s going on for them at the moment. We have a range of tools and interventions that help you think about how to manage your own mental health better in the future. Building on strengths and using their own self-resilience to self-manage the situations they’re in.”
The whole aim of the service is to prevent people needing to reuse it on a long term basis. By developing the strategies to cope, people will be able to manage their situations and avoid significant levels of distress and crisis in the future.
“Examples of tools we’ll be using are mood diaries, safety plans, wellness plans; all things that allow people to take ownership around their mental health. Also though, it’s about working this out together. There are trained staff and volunteers on hand to help. We hope that in the future, people who’ve benefited from the service will return to support others too.
“The support is open access, so you don’t need a referral from your doctor. We’re putting posters around and getting the telephone number out to every avenue we can think of. It’s difficult at the moment, of course! We’ve reached out to supermarkets, doctors’ surgeries, public areas and so on.”
Out of hours service
“Our lines will be open when everything else is shut. You can contact us on three different telephone numbers and we operate from Monday to Friday from 1800 to 2300. We’re also open on weekends and bank holidays between 1200 and 2300, open 365 days a year.”
You can hear an interview with Gayle Lowery-Jones on the Academy FM Folkestone Virus Update podcast.