New campaign to get Bristol talking about mental health

September 29 2017

A new campaign called We Hear You was launched in September to get people in Bishopston, Cotham and Redland talking about mental health and raise awareness of The Sanctuary, a unique service in the city for people experiencing emotional distress.

A new campaign called We Hear You was launched in September  to get people in Bishopston, Cotham and Redland talking about mental health and raise awareness of The Sanctuary, a unique service in the city for people experiencing emotional distress.

The Sanctuary, run by charity St Mungo’s, was opened in April 2015 and is commissioned as part of Bristol Mental Health services. Unlike many services, The Sanctuary is open weekend nights from 7pm until 1.30am. 

Over each weekend an average of 20 people visit The Sanctuary. We Hear You campaign aims to make more people aware so they can access the help they need before they reach crisis point.

Richard Popp, St Mungo’s Sanctuary manager, said: “Three out of four people who visit The Sanctuary are considering suicide or serious self-harm. We want people to know we are here for them. The Sanctuary is a welcoming safe space available for anyone feeling they can’t cope or are feeling desperate over the weekends. We help people find some stability and make a plan to stay safe. People can spend time talking through their situation with a trained worker, or just take some breathing time.” 

Shaun began visiting The Sanctuary in December 2016 after two serious attempts at taking his own life. He still occasionally uses the service. He said: “I thought the pain I was suffering mentally couldn’t be alleviated and so the only way out was to take my life. I thought if nothing could stop the pain there’d be no point in seeking help. It was relentless, I could only sleep for an hour or two, and sleep was the only break I got from my dark and painful thoughts. 

“It was wonderful to come to The Sanctuary, to stay as long as I needed to and meet friendly people; with the combination of talking to people and counselling I left with a realisation that there was something  that could alleviate the pain. I lost my suicidal thoughts and had, now, a little bit of hope from which I could build my recovery.”

Pearl Maynard, general manager at one of Everyone Active’s seven leisure centres in the city, said: “We believe that a person’s wellbeing comes from not only being physically active, but also supported with their mental health. Being part of this campaign gives us the opportunity to enhance the work we do in our centres every day to help improve the wellbeing of the community.”  

The Sanctuary is open Friday – Monday, from 7pm until 1.30am. 

To book your space call 0117 954 2952. Text: 07709 295 661. Phone lines open at 5pm.