Charity opens new wellbeing centre in Southsea to help people mental health issues

A CHARITY that helps people with their mental health has opened a new centre.

Tuesday, 11th October 2016, 6:21 am
Updated Tuesday, 25th October 2016, 2:43 pm
From left, Wellbeing Centre manager Alex Long , chief operating officer of Solent NHS Trust Sarah Austin, head of service for Solent Mind Portsmouth Support and Recovery Emma Fernandes and chief executive of Solent Mind Richard Barritt Picture: Malcolm Wells (161010-0261)

Solent Mind celebrated the launch of its Portsmouth Wellbeing Centre yesterday – World Mental Health Day – and invited people in to learn more about what it does.

Head of service Emma Fernandes said: ‘The opening was a huge success.

‘We had lots of people from the community walking in off the street asking what the centre is for and signing up for courses.

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‘It was fantastic to see so much interest.’

Working with Solent NHS Trust, the centre in Palmerston Road, Southsea, has a range of services to help promote wellbeing and support people with mental health issues.

Sessions on offer include mindfulness workshops, employment support, art therapy and drop-in sessions.

Emma added: ‘The centre is about enabling people to manage their own wellbeing, teaching them skills and signposting to other services that can provide additional help and support.

‘It’s about breaking down the stigma of mental health and offering a service for everybody.

‘We’re particularly proud that 80 per cent of the sessions we’re running at the centre are led by people with experience of mental health issues themselves.’

The centre will be used by people referred from primary care such as GPs and from Solent NHS Trust.

But people can also pay to take part in the workshops and sessions.

Emma said: ‘Portsmouth has needed something in the city for such a long time.

‘There is a gaping hole, specifically for service users who need a community resource.

‘It’s not just about someone with a mental health problem coming to a building, it’s about integrating them back into the community as well.’

A woman who has been helped by Solent Mind, but wanted to remain anonymous, said: ‘My GP referred me to Solent Mind.

‘From my first meeting with a wellbeing worker I felt there was a way forward.

‘I feel calmer, happier and hopeful for the future.

‘I’m more aware of what my triggers are which will help me manage things 
so that I don’t get back to the depressed state I was in again.

‘I have little doubt that without Solent Mind I would still be struggling with 
anxiety and depression and am so grateful to the patient, supportive staff for 
everything that I have gained from attending this service.’