Hestia operates a wide range of services and support for people with mental health and complex needs in most boroughs across London and in Kent and Berkshire. All staff are trained to support those who may be experiencing mental health distress. This includes in domestic abuse, modern slavery, older people and offender rehabilitation services.

How does your organisation contribute to preventing suicide and supporting those affected by it?

These services include  mental health crisis alternative provision such as ‘Recovery Cafes’ and ‘Crisis Coves’ and ‘Safe Havens’.

Our Mental Health Crisis alternative model offers an intervention to reduce a service user’s immediate anxiety or mental health crisis, and serves as an alternative to accident and emergency services. It is a safe space where, in many of the services, one can walk in without an appointment and receive free, tailored support and assistance for their needs.

The Crisis Cove Model offers similar assistance to people in mental health distress, although through referral-only. The Coves work to de-escalate symptoms of a mental health crisis in a comfortable, non-medical setting and also signposts to other services which may be useful to that individual.

Hestia also runs a Crisis House in South East London providing short term accommodation and support for people as an alternative to a mental health related hospital admission.

Hestia additionally has a partnership with The Listening Place, a charity dedicated to offering support to those with suicidal thoughts. Hestia has worked with The Listening Place to produce a suicide prevention tool kit for all staff, focused on interventions with people feeling suicidal coupled with a wellbeing toolkit for staff to maintain their resilience.

What are your current priorities?

Our current priorities include re-focusing our mental health crisis alternative models to align with the lifting of national lockdown restrictions and ensuring we are accessible to referrals and self-referrals to the services at a time of much uncertainty.

We are also focusing on supporting those with suicide ideation in our current services outside of mental health. We have registered an increase in suicide ideation particularly in our domestic abuse services, and we are aiming to galvanise action among domestic abuse and mental health services, to better help survivors.

Additionally, we are working to ensure that all service environments are psychologically informed spaces with a positive impact on outcomes and recovery.

What challenges are you currently facing?

Our most pressing challenge is adjusting our services to ensure we are accessible to the unknown demand as lockdown restrictions lift.