Crisis drop-in centre
Sasha’s Project are running a drop-in crisis centre at The Point Youth Centre, Harlington Way, Fleet GU51 4BP. This is open from 9pm to 6am every Friday and Saturday night for all young people aged 13 to 25yrs.
Currently, if a young person is in crisis in Hampshire and Surrey borders, options for help can be limited, especially during the night. With cases of young suicides rising nationally, we aim to provide support that fills this gap.
We can offer young people the opportunity to be heard in complete confidence, in a caring, non-clinical, safe environment. It is somewhere young people can be supported through a crisis, with the aim of reducing their risk of self-harm and suicide. We also equip them with basic self-help tools and support them to develop a future crisis plan.
Young people don’t need to be referred or make an appointment, they can simply drop-in at any time during a shift and can stay as long as they need, until they feel safe again. They can also visit the drop-in centre as often as they want - we do not restrict the number of times we support a young person. If a young person is understandably anxious about coming to the drop-in centre (we know how daunting it can be) we have an emergency mobile number that they can contact, either by texting or calling, so that they can reassure themselves about what happens when they visit and what our Listening Volunteers are like.
Our Listening Volunteers are thoroughly vetted and well trained. They are equipped to deal with all number of situations and are able to talk to a young person openly and honestly about how the young person is feeling and if they are suicidal.
Our project for 2024 is supporting parents, and we are delighted to be able to open our drop-in centre to all parents who are struggling because of their child’s poor mental health. Parents often feel isolated, not knowing where to turn and it is hugely beneficial to be able to offer them peer support from Listening Volunteers who really understand what it is like. We can help them navigate the system and also signpost them to organisations and charities who can help. A parent who is supported can support their child so much more effectively.
Parents are welcome to the drop-in centre when it is open but they are also welcome to contact us via email, telephone or text (0774 111 7655).
Recent research has shown that young people are more likely to go for help and support to somebody who is familiar, so our Listening Volunteers are now trained in outreach work. They walk around our local community, connecting with young people who are out and about. They also engage with other professionals / volunteers who are working during the night, making invaluable networks
They follow researched routes that are safe and well-lit, carrying with them a rucksack that holds everything they might need from a mobile phone backup battery, a torch, first aid kit, crisis information and most importantly - snacks!
Christmas Box scheme
Sasha’s Project Christmas Box Scheme is about delivering a box/bag of Christmas gifts to young people who are spending Christmas Day on a mental health unit. Being an in-patient is hard at the best of times, but at Christmas it is particularly difficult, especially if the young person is unable to see family and friends on Christmas Day.
This is a project where communities, individuals and groups come together to donate gifts, which are divided up into festive bags, which are then delivered on Christmas Eve to the young people in hospital units throughout Hampshire.
We have to go through the donated gifts to ensure that everything is suitable for a mental health unit. The sort of things we have to avoid are anything with liquids like nail varnish, anything with string/ties, or glass, and notebooks with staples.
Christmas 2021 we operated our first Christmas Box scheme and we were able to deliver nearly 70 bags to 6 hospitals, and in 2022 we delivered just over 100 bags to 9 hospitals. In addition, the scheme was run in Manchester on our behalf where 30 bags were delivered to 3 hospitals in the area. In 2023 we delivered 120 which, as far as we knew, covered every single young person in a mental health hospital on Christmas Day in Hampshire.
ICU Hospital Bag initiative
Sasha’s Project have initiated a pilot scheme providing free emergency comfort and support ICU hospital bags for young people (age 13-25yrs) who are admitted to intensive care as the result of a suicide attempt.
Sasha kept a hospital bag prepped and ready for just such instances, which contained all that she needed if she ended up in ICU. We wanted to offer something similar to help those young people in need, at our local hospitals with A&E wards. Each bag contains ethically sourced toiletries, nightshirts/ pjs, underwear, T-shirt, hoodie, sweatpants, socks, disposable slippers, £3 in change for snack vending machines, a book, a comforter and information about local mental health support services and charities.
The bags come in different clothing sizes (female/male small, medium, large and one gender neutral) and are checked to ensure that they contain no self-harm or ligature risks.
Each bag also includes a postcard with a short survey that the recipient can complete and post back to the charity (the postcards are already addressed and stamped).
We have recently added to the items we provide based on feedback, so that they now include period products, and a notebook/diary (a sort of patient diary to record time in ICU and any queries they might have, which can be discussed at a later date, and which may include entries by staff).
The response to the bags so far has been incredible. Staff been delighted to receive them and have said how helpful they are, showing the young people in a very practical way that others do care.