A specialised safe haven offering a late-night safe space for people experiencing mental health crisis has opened off Cowley Road in Oxford.

Oxford Safe Haven (OSH) offers additional out-of-hours support for adults living with mental illness in Oxfordshire.

People must call ahead to hold a place at the drop-in in Manzil Way, Oxford, for immediate mental health support in a non-medical environment.

The service was launched in March by Oxfordshire Mental Health Partnership (OHMP).

Holly visited the Safe Haven when she was in need of support. She said: “Safe Haven is a place where I’m free to show my mental health symptoms and be accepted for all of me, not just part of me. Safe Haven keeps me safe from harm. A place of acceptance, warmth, kindness and care. It keeps me safe from me. Safe Haven is what I’ve always searched for since my mental health problems surfaced 15 years ago. This place fills the gap between Samaritans and A&E and often prevents me from reaching crisis.”

Vanessa Odlin, Oxfordshire and West Service Director at Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, said: “In partnership we have been able to open the Oxford Safe Haven on four evenings a week, which we believe will be able to support people with mental health problems when they are experiencing a crisis. We know evenings and weekends can be a difficult time for some people living with mental health problems. Whilst there are a number of services that offer access to NHS care outside 9-5, people living with mental illness tell us they feel best supported in a more informal and less clinical environment.”

Dan Knowles, Chief Executive Officer of Oxfordshire Mind, said: “The Oxford Safe Haven offers a safe and familiar place to get help from people who specialise in mental health care.

“Service-users can self-refer on the night by calling in advance and can also be referred by health professionals or the emergency services.”

From 7 December OSH will be open Monday, Friday, Saturday and Sundays from 6pm to 10pm.

It is not a drop-in service and so people must self-refer on the night by calling in advance or can also be referred by health professionals and emergency services. Space may not be available if people arrive without calling ahead.

The referral line will be open from 5pm on the day of service. The last entry will be at 9pm.

To self-refer to Oxford Safe Haven ring 01865 903037 or 07710 092849.

OSH is being run for OMHP by member organisations Oxfordshire Mind, Elmore community Services and Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust.

​The Oxfordshire Mental Health Partnership is six local mental health organisations from the NHS and the charity sector: Connection Floating Support, Elmore Community Services, Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, Oxfordshire Mind, Response and Restore.

Staff at the organisations work much more closely with each other and with people who have mental health problems to make it easier for people to get the best possible support when they need it.

To self-refer to Oxford Safe Haven ring 01865 903037 or 07710 092849.