A Dorset mental health service will be offering round-the-clock support to those in need, in person, over the phone and online over the festive period.

Led by Dorset HealthCare, Access Mental Health services will be open as usual over Christmas and into the New Year, providing help and advice to anyone struggling.

Local residents can access Connection - a round-the-clock helpline for support, advice, and signposting.

Laura Ekelund, Dorset HealthCare’s Crisis and Acute Community Services manager, said: “We know this time of year can be particularly hard for many, and our Access Mental Health Services are here to help.

“Our Connection mental health crisis phone line is available 24/7. Please do call us if you are worried about your own, or someone close to you, mental health – our experienced mental health staff are here to listen and support you to find a way forward, whatever the circumstances.”

There will also be face-to-face and online services available across Dorset. Community Front Rooms offers face-to-face drop-in and virtual support service for over-18s in Bridport, Shaftesbury, Wareham and Weymouth. These are run by local charities, The Burrough Harmony Centre (Bridport), Hope (Shaftesbury) and Bournemouth Churches Housing Association (Wareham and Weymouth), and staffed by mental health and peer support workers.

Dorset Mental Health Forum also runs a drop-in service in Dorchester and Bournemouth called The Retreat in partnership with Dorset Healthcare, providing a safe space for over-18s to talk through problems with a mental health worker or peer specialist face-to-face.

Opening times and details for drop-in services can be found on Dorset Healthcare's website: https://www.dorsethealthcare.nhs.uk/access-mental-health

You can dial Connection at 0800 652 0190