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BCHA Community Front Rooms to offer Attend Anywhere video call facility

Video call

People over the age of 18 across Dorset, who are experiencing mental health problems, can now access free face to face, virtual drop-in consultations, using the NHS’s Attend Anywhere secure video call service, through Community Front Rooms providers BCHA, and local charities Hope and The Burrough Harmony Centre, in partnership with Dorset Healthcare.

BCHA is proud to be the first third sector provider of Attend Anywhere outside of Dorset Healthcare. It will use this video call service to deliver vital online mental health support safely and in accordance with COVID-19 restrictions, through Community Front Room team members at a critical time, when increasing numbers of people are finding that their mental wellbeing is being put at risk.

Prior to lockdown, the Community Front Rooms (CFRs) offered three, semi-rural drop-in spaces in Bridport (run in partnership with The Burrough Harmony Centre), Wareham (run by BCHA) and Shaftesbury (run in partnership with Hope), where adults in mental health crisis could find support.

The drop-in side of the service ceased when the scale of the pandemic became apparent and, until now, the services were only able to offer telephone support.

However, with the launch of this new video consulting system, a face to face drop-in service has resumed safely but remotely - please note that CFRs are still unable to welcome visitors in person.

Staffed by both mental health professionals and trained peer specialists (people with personal experience of mental health issues), CFRs offer an alternative to the clinical, medicalised approach many will be familiar with. Staff are there to help those in crisis find their own strengths and resources, to give advice or guidance and, crucially, to offer an empathetic ear.

Community Front Rooms are available Thursday to Sunday, from 3.15pm to 10.45pm, for support and can be accessed through the following links:

Wareham Community Front Room

Shaftesbury Community Front Room

Bridport Community Front Room

Alternatively, for customers who would prefer to speak to someone on a telephone, contact can be made through the Connection number 0300 123 5440.

BCHA Business Manager East, Sarah Mullins, said:

“Being the first third sector provider to use Attend Anywhere outside of Dorset Healthcare is a very exciting development for BCHA and our charity partners, Burrough Harmony and Hope, in helping us all to deliver the Community Front Rooms. It will open up new channels for contact with customers, while the drop in is unavailable during this difficult time and is an added bonus on top of the 24/7 Connection phone line service.”

Tracey Marshall, Dorset HealthCare’s Crisis and Acute Community Services Manager, said:

“Attend Anywhere has been vital in providing local people with health care support during the pandemic, and we are delighted to extend the service to the Community Front Rooms. Sometimes people feel more able to talk through their problems when they can see the other person, and you can do it from the comfort of your own home – or wherever is convenient to you.”

The Burrough Harmony Centre said:

“If you feel you are reaching a crisis point with your mental health and need support with your wellbeing, the Bridport Community Front Room is here for you. We offer a welcoming, non-judgemental and safe space for you to come and be, to talk and to be listened to. Mental Health Practitioners and Peer Specialist specially trained for working in the Community Front Room are here to help you work out your next steps for your wellbeing. You do not need a referral.”

Further information

Community Rooms offer a welcoming virtual space where people can discuss their problems. Staff will not offer medication or structured therapy, but rather self-management advice and support that helps you find the solutions to aid your recovery.

If staff feel the CFR is not the most appropriate level of support for an individual, they can signpost them to other services, which may lead to further support from the other mental health services available.

CFRs are not able to work with people who:

  • require medical attention beyond basic first aid/wound care
  • are intoxicated by alcohol or substances
  • display threatening or physically aggressive behaviour
  • are under the age of 18.

Community Front Rooms are a recent addition to the Access Mental Health pathway, which also includes a 24hr helpline and several other facilities around the county.

Recommendation from a user of the Bridport Community Front Room:

“I don't know what I would do without the Community Front Room now; it is an oasis of calm, a beacon of hope, and no matter how you are feeling, you will be welcome here.

A chat with people who have 'been there'; or just space to sit quietly, knowing you are safe.

But it's there for the times of crisis too. Hope, acceptance, safety, and empathy sum up the Community Front Room.... Please don't hesitate to come; it is there for YOU too."

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