The Retreat, the first major outcome of the recent Mental Health Acute Care Pathway review, had its official opening at Hahnemann House in Bournemouth yesterday. Run in partnership with Dorset Mental Health Forum, it provides a safe and welcoming environment for people who have self-identified a crisis and need out-of-hours support.

The Retreat is staffed by mental health clinicians and peer support specialists, and is open to any Dorset resident aged 18 and over from Monday to Thursday: 4.30pm-12 midnight and Friday to Sunday: 6.30pm-2am. It is proving hugely popular – since it opened its doors at the end of April, there have been almost 1,200 visits from people needing various kinds of support. You don’t need to make an appointment, you can simply go along if you feel you are approaching a crisis and need to talk to someone about it.

Dorset HealthCare Chief Executive Ron Shields joined Becky Aldridge, Chief Executive of the Dorset Mental Health Forum, to kick off the opening ceremony before handing over to Mental Health Community Services Manager Rachel Small, and Sarah Rose, the Forum’s Operations Manager, for a short presentation on the creation and development of the service. Rachel and Sarah joined Retreat Team Leader Jacob Beale to cut a specially-baked cake, before assembled guests – including representatives from the Trust, the Forum and other local stakeholders – were treated to refreshments and a tour of the building.