Crisis Safe Space: a sanctuary for people struggling with mental health this Christmas

Open Mental Health releases an animation about out-of-hours support available in Somerset over the holidays.

SOMERSET, December 13th, 2023 

The Crisis Safe Space animation, by Open Mental Health, highlights the importance of an out-of-hours service for people struggling with their mental health. It is a powerful visual journey about the power of empathy and compassion in fostering mental wellbeing during times of critical distress.

With the upcoming Christmas period posing many emotional and mental health concerns, the animation sheds light on a crucial resource: Crisis Safe Space, an alternative to conventional emergency services.

It’s the story of a woman who, amid mental health struggles, reached out to Crisis Safe Space for support. Rather than navigating other emergency services or facing problems alone, the animation illustrates the transformative impact of connecting with a compassionate Crisis Safe Space team member.

Mental health at Christmas: a challenging picture in numbers

According to Mental Health UK, 84% of us find Christmas to be stressful or triggering, 77% think their mental health problems worsen during the festive period, 73% experience loneliness and isolation even when surrounded by other people, and 75% feel pressure to enjoy Christmas or put on a pretence.

A recent study by Rethink Mental Illness confirms these findings: 77% said they feel lonely and isolated, 84% that the symptoms of mental illness are worse, and 88% feel they must pretend to enjoy the holidays.

A 2015 survey by Mind showed that more than a third (36%) of people with mental health problems had self-harmed to cope with the pressure of Christmas, more than half (52%) had considered harming themselves, and nearly half (45%) had considered taking their own life.

What is a mental health crisis?

During a mental health crisis, thoughts and emotions can become overwhelming. People might feel they can’t handle what’s going on in their minds. This happens for many reasons, including extreme stress, emotional pain, and the feeling that everything is too much to handle. people can experience intense emotions, sadness, anxiety, or panic. They might have trouble thinking clearly, making decisions, or even getting through the day.

What is a safe space?

Open Mental Health’s safe spaces, created through the service, are supportive environments where someone experiencing a mental health crisis can seek refuge, comfort, and assistance. They offer a calm, secure, and understanding atmosphere, providing a temporary respite for people struggling with overwhelming emotions or thoughts.

Where are Crisis Safe Space appointments available?

Run by Open Mental Health partners Mind in Somerset and Second Step, Crisis Safe Space appointments are available face-to-face in Bridgwater, Glastonbury, Taunton and Yeovil and remotely by phone and Zoom wherever you are in Somerset. Whether in-person or remote, they offer a non-judgemental setting where people feel heard and respected. At a Crisis Safe Space appointment, people receive emotional support and, if needed, guidance on accessing additional help or services.

How to book a Crisis Safe Space appointment

If you or someone you know struggles with an out-of-hours mental health crisis this festive season, check the Christmas appointment times and book a session with the Crisis Safe Space team by visiting the Crisis Safe Space page on the Open Mental Health website, calling Mindline Somerset on 01823 276 892 or freephone 0800 138 1692.

Mindline Somerset remains open and available to offer support every day, 24/7, over the Christmas period.

Quote from a Crisis Safe Space service user

Crisis Safe Space has supported me on many occasions over the past couple of years when I have been struggling with thoughts of self-harm or suicide. They have welcomed me in my moments of desperation, providing me with reassurance and compassion and a safe place to just ‘be’.

There has never been any pressure to talk or explain myself or to do anything, and I have benefitted so much from just having someone sitting alongside me in my periods of mental health crisis.

Sometimes, I have needed to just express my feelings or to share my intrusive thoughts with someone who could hold them without judgment. Sometimes, I have needed someone to help me plan how to get through the next couple of hours or days.

Crisis Safe Space has always felt safe and calming, in contrast to the environment of alternative places such as A&E, where there are crowds of people, lots of noise and bright lights. This has really helped me to cope better with my distress and to ground myself more quickly instead of my senses being heightened, which would have caused me to become even more dysregulated.”

Download the Crisis Safe Space Animation

The Crisis Safe Space animation can be downloaded from Vimeo at: