Service an Oasis of wellbeing
The Oasis, at 86 Cove Road, is a drop- in service providing people with a safe place where they can talk to trained staff or each other.
This kind of support has been shown to improve conditions and prevent mental health problems, which in turn eases pressure on GPs and A& E departments.
The service began in April on a six- month trial basis after residents and mental health voluntary workers insisted there was a need for mental health support in the town.
It is led by Just Wellbeing, which already runs a similar service called the Young Persons’ Safe Haven, in Aldershot.
Funding has been supplied by North East Hampshire and Farnham Clinical Commissioning Group ( CCG).
Dr Nick Hughes, a Farnborough GP and director of the area’s GP federation, said: “We asked people who use mental health services what support they needed in Farnborough.
“They told us that, while there is a very good mental health crisis service at the Safe Haven in Aldershot, something local was needed.”
The service operates from 6.30pm to 9.30pm, seven days a week.
In June, The Oasis was visited by 32 people on 195 separate occasions.
Most visitors were from Farnborough with others from Aldershot, Frimley and Camberley.
Judi Page, director of Just Wellbeing, said: “Our experience shows that for people in mental health crisis, having a nearby service that is easy to access is so important. We have helped to prevent their situations from deteriorating further.
“This means they didn’t come to any harm, nor was there a need for them to go to A& E, which can often happen.”
If staff at The Oasis feel that a visitor needs more clinical psychiatric support, transport is arranged to take them to the Safe Haven in Aldershot and bring them home.
Dr Andy Whitfield, clinical chairman of the CCG, said: “This service has come about as a direct result of local people approaching us and telling us that there was a need.
“It is good to see that it has been well- received and that it is already making a positive difference to people with mental health problems.”
One of the visitors to The Oasis is 42- year- old Shaun Carter, who recently returned from a five- year stay in Australia where he was working as a construction site manager.
Having split from his partner, Mr Carter, originally from Aldershot, is currently sleeping on the floor of his mother’s onebedroom flat in Farnborough.
He said The Oasis had been an important source of help while he struggles to secure accommodation, work and access to his children.
“It has an important social factor,” he said.
“People might arrive feeling sad but they can get some counselling and go home feeling they have been heard.
“They have pointed me to the council, Job Centre and Citizens’ Advice Bureau, and written a letter so I don’t have to keep going through my story and the feelings it drags up. Any day can be a living hell and it’s a struggle to keep going, but coming here makes it feel less overwhelming and gives me some of my confidence back. I can talk about my problems openly with people who are in circumstances.
“We can share similar our experiences and everyone else benefits.
“Knowledge is power.”