Islanders who may be struggling with their mental health are being reminded that they can still access free support and advice throughout the whole festive period at a newly opened drop-in facility.
The Listening Lounge, which launched on 4 November, will be open every day during December including Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. The facility, based in Charles House, Charles Street, St Helier, offers islanders aged 18 and over, free, early help before they reach mental crisis.
Health and Community Services launched the service in partnership with L.I.N.C, a specialist mental health and wellbeing provider in Jersey. The pilot service, which runs until 2020, supports islanders with issues such as anxiety and depression before they become more complex. Clinicians oversee the day-to-day running of the drop-in service alongside peer support staff who bring insights of their lived experience of mental health difficulties. Islanders can also book counselling sessions.
During the festive season the Listening Lounge will continue to open its usual hours of 10am until 10pm apart from Christmas Day and Boxing Day when it will open between 10am and 2pm and on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day when it will be open between 10am and 6pm.
Lucy Nicolaou, Head of Services for L.I.N.C, said: "Although the festive period is seen as a happy time, for some it can be a time of increased stress, anxiety and loneliness. Whether it’s coping with family issues or worrying about finance, we want to assure islanders who may be struggling with their mental health that the Listening Lounge will continue to offer support and advice throughout the Christmas period."
Since the Listening Lounge launched, 115 islanders have accessed help. Of these, 55 have self-referred for counselling and 60 have opted for an informal chat with one of the team. Approximately one third of the 60 who opted for an informal chat access the service regularly.
Assistant Health Minister Senator Steve Pallett, who has political responsibility for mental health, said: "The Listening Lounge is proving to be a much-needed and valuable service which islanders can turn to during their hour of need.
"It is fantastic that the service is also working collaboratively with the States of Jersey Police meaning that officers can now direct islanders with mental health issues to the Listening Lounge in the first instance, rather than the Hospital’s Emergency Department, if appropriate to do so. The Council of Ministers has committed to improving access to mental health services so it is great that the Listening Lounge is growing from strength to strength."