Number of visitors to mental health ‘community entry rooms’ on the rise

THE number of visitors to mental health “community reception rooms” is increasing every month.

Nearly 1,600 people have sought mental health support from the county’s four ‘Community Reception Rooms’ (CFRs) since April – and the numbers continue to rise.

CFRs located in Weymouth, Bridport, Wareham and Shaftesbury are a vital part of Dorset Healthcare’s access mental health services.

Provided by housing charity BCHA, in partnership with local charities The Burrough Harmony Center (Bridport) and Hope (Shaftesbury), the relaxed and comfortable rooms are staffed by healthcare professionals and peer helpers and help people with their mental health needs when other local mental health services are closed.

Community Front Rooms and Recovery Houses were winners of the 2021 Daily Echo Proud to Care Awards. The teams won the mental health services category in the awards held in association with the BCP Council.

Tony Burden, BCHA’s commercial director for mental health services, said: “CFRs often provide life-saving support to people in crisis.

“Between September 2019, when the service was launched, and the beginning of November this year, 3,875 people contacted the CFR. And 1,591 of those contacts have come since April alone.

“Weymouth CFR only opened in June but since then has supported 469 people.

“We have also seen a significant increase in the number of male visitors to CFRs. The Bridport CFR run by the Burrough Harmony Center received no contact from men in April. But in September, 38 males asked for his help. And Shaftesbury CFR has supported more men than women since April – 119 women and 155 men.

He continued: “With Christmas fast approaching and Covid restrictions reintroduced, we expect even more demand for our services in the months ahead.”

Tracey Marshall, Head of Crisis Services and Acute Community Services at Dorset Health Care, said: ‘This continues to be a very difficult time for people’s mental health and our mental health access services are here to help. support you and provide you with the first step on the road to recovery. We offer face-to-face appointments, virtual support and a 24/7 phone line to ensure we provide the right support at the right time for those who need it.

CFRs are open to people over the age of 18 and offer walk-in assistance services between 3:15 p.m. and 10:45 p.m., Thursday through Sunday.