Dr Andrew Mayers

Covid-19: Mental health support services in Dorset

During these troubled times we need to ensure that we protect our mental health. Many of us are extremely anxious for ourselves and others. This is often not helped by the huge amount of information we are being bombarded with in the media and on social media (while ensuring we do pay attention to the important directions we are being given by the Government). However, for those with existing mental health challenges, the current situation is even more distressing. Sadly, at the very time when people need more support, most of the face-to-face services have been withdrawn to minimise the spread of Coronavirus. Some local and national charities and mental health support services are now being delivered 'virtually' (online or by telephone). On this page I have listed some of the services available in Dorset. I will endeavour to keep these up to date, so please let me know if you know of other services that need to be included here (you can do that via email or social media). I have also included some links to general advice on access to emergency help and maintaining mental health.

Dorset mental support services

Dorset Mind is a mental health charity providing support across Dorset. These services include specific focus on young people, women, eating disorder support, the LGBT community, businesses, activity groups, and befriending. While none of the usual groups can currently run face-to-face, Dorset Mind is working on providing this support virtually. Check here for updates. Dorset Mind has also produced these tips for protecting mental health and wellbeing during Covid-19.

Dorset Parent Infant Partnership (DorPIP) helps families across Dorset flourish, especially with regard to the transition into parenthood. Services include vital therapeutic support for parent-infant relationships. Until further notice, this support will be provided online. Check here for more information.

Acts Fast provides support to families where their child has been sexually abused. All counselling and family support will be done by telephone, email or text. More information can be found here.

STARS Dorset provides support for sexual trauma and recovery. They will continue to offer support 'virtually' including counselling services, Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA) service and the telephone support line.  More information can be found here.

Many of these services are not available 24/7. If you need immediate help, or find that you need someone to talk to at any time of the day or night, please call the Samaritans on 116 123.

Some mental health support services provided by Dorset HealthCare University NHS Foundation Trust (such as the Community Front Rooms and Retreats) are not operating at the moment. You can still self-refer to Steps to Wellbeing services. There are many 'virtual' support interventions available in addition to access to webinars and sources of information. Young people are also being supported. Dorset Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) have a great resource detailing what support they offer, including contingencies during Covid.

If you need immediate help (in Dorset), please call their Mental Health Connection support line (call 0330 123 5440 or 111 and select 'mental health')











General tips for mental health

UK Government advice on protecting mental health during Covid-19