Mental health service watchdog voices fear as Safe Haven closes
Safe Haven, in Camberley, closed at the end of March and has been ‘ transferred’ to its Aldershot counterpart.
Surrey now has only six Safe Havens – also known as Crisis Cafés – which provide out- of- hours support to people experiencing a mental health crisis or emotional distress.
The closure prompted a revealing report into Sur- rey’s mental health provision by HealthWatch Surrey. The watchdog published its Keeping the Light On report last month, after hearing concerns from service users about the future of Surrey’s Safe Havens.
The report, whose title was inspired by a user who described the Safe Havens as ‘ a lighthouse in a storm’ is the product of 25 in- depth interviews.
It exposes people’s experiences of mental health services in Surrey and reveals the need for a secure future for mental health care provision.
Matthew Parris from Healthwatch Surrey said: “We were overwhelmed were discharged a care plan.
The report also highlighted the service Safe Havens offers. One interviewee said: “If you want to talk to someone you can, but there’s no pressure. You can just ‘ be’.”
Another respondent said: “If I didn’t go to Safe Haven, I don’t know where I’d go.”
Mr Parris said Healthwatch Surrey is calling on commissioners ‘ to make long- term plans for what users and their carers tell us is a valuable service.’
The watchdog will publish an impact report this summer after gathering responses from Guildford & Waverley Clinical Com- without missioning Group ( CCG) and Surrey County Council.
When approached for comment, NHS Surrey Heath CCG explained Safe Haven in Camberley was transferred to Aldershot due to the low number of people using the service.
It was added: “There has been no reduction in investment into the Safe Haven programme – services are simply being transferred so that a more rounded, consistent service is in place.”
A County Council spokesperson said the issue ‘ would be a better question for Surrey and Borders Partnership as [ it is] the organisation responsible for running these.’
However when contacted, a Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Trust spokesman said: “I was not aware the Safe Haven had closed, I don’t know why [ it] put our number on [ its] website.”
Guildford & Waverley C C G did not r e - spond when a s k - ed for a c o m ment. -