Mental health services and support

If you are concerned about someone who may harm themselves, please see our crisis and suicide prevention page.

If you are showing signs of mental ill-health which are not improving with self-help interventions, the first thing you should do is speak with your GP, or if you have one, your Lead Practitioner in your NHS Community Mental Health team.

If your poor mental health is linked with financial concerns, please see our mental health and money worries page.

Mental health issues are common and treatable. The sooner you seek help, the better. Please also check out the support available both locally and nationally.

Sussex Mental Healthline

You can call this helpline for care and advice (24 hours, 7 days a week, for all ages) to discuss concerns you have for the mental health of yourself or someone else.

For callers whose first language is not English, a telephone interpreter can be arranged for other community languages, by phoning the helpline and letting them know the language needed.

Shout Sussex text service

By texting the word SUSSEX to 85258, people of any age can access a free, confidential, 24/7 service and have a text conversation with a trained volunteer. The volunteers offer real-time support to people who are anxious, stressed, depressed, suicidal or overwhelmed. Some people may prefer this to speaking on the phone. If appropriate, users will be signposted to other local services.

Health in Mind

A free NHS service for East Sussex residents who are experiencing stress, anxiety or low mood. You can self-refer through the website, and also find videos, top tips and free online therapy programmes. The service is offered via the phone or online via a secure video platform, with limited face-to-face treatment.

Once a referral has been received, the team will talk to you about what can be offered based on your needs.

East Sussex Mental Health Support Services

Community mental health support services are offered by local organisations in partnership with the Council and NHS Sussex. These are free and for any adults living in East Sussex who are living with mental health challenges.

Wellbeing centres

Seven Wellbeing Centres in East Sussex provide a range of community-based mental health and wellbeing support to help you to get well, stay well and prevent crisis. The centres are in Hastings and St Leonards, Bexhill, Eastbourne, Hailsham, Lewes, Uckfield and Crowborough.  

Support for mental health and wellbeing is offered through a support plan developed with each client (age 16 plus). 

Peer Support Service

People who have their own lived experience of mental health challenges will support you to take control of your mental health and stay well. Peer Specialists work with clients to develop Wellness Plans, identifying strategies and tools to help manage recovery and prevent crisis.

Staying Well Space

Out-of-hours ‘crisis cafe’ support available 7 evenings a week for adults (aged 16+) experiencing acute distress due to their mental health. The service has venues in St Leonards and Eastbourne, with phone support for those who can’t visit in person.

People supported by Staying Well are generally experiencing distress related to a mental health condition. They are not considered at imminent risk of suicidal or self-injury, or to pose an imminent risk of harm to others.

Thinking Well

Specialist day support for adults living in East Sussex who are living with a diagnosis of Complex Emotional Needs (CEN).

The service made a film for people with the diagnosis and family, friends, and practitioners.

Access local services to improve your mental wellbeing

Community Connectors

When everyday life is affecting your mental health and wellbeing, we work in partnership with GPs to help you access local services and activities that can help. Community Navigators support people to improve their own health and wellbeing by developing personalised and practical solutions to everyday issues, using a Social Prescribing pathway.

Local wellbeing project in Eastbourne and Hastings

Wellbeing in Hastings and Eastbourne is a project that promotes the emotional and mental wellbeing of communities within Hastings and Eastbourne.

Outdoor wellbeing group at Seven Sisters

This 8 week supportive Growing New Roots project is for people who would benefit from time spend in nature due to their mental health. For further details please see the website.

Information from our Mental Health Trust

The Sussex Partnership Foundation NHS Foundation Trust (SPFT) supports people with more serious mental health difficulties. You can find further information and an A-Z of conditions on their webpages.

Adult Social Care

Contact Adult Social Care if you or someone you know needs social care support.

Low cost or free counselling services

Sussex Community Counselling

Low-cost counselling by a BACP-accredited service offered in Newhaven, Lewes, Hailsham and Eastbourne, or by phone or video call.

Counselling Plus Community

A charity which offers confidential affordable counselling to people aged 16+. Available face to face in Hastings, Bexhill and Rye and also remotely through phone, Zoom or Skype.

Support for Survivors of Suicide (SSOS)

For those who are struggling with suicidal thoughts or who have attempted suicide. Assessments and counselling services can be offered via phone or video call. Support is also provided if you have lost someone to suicide.

Qwell digital wellbeing support

A national service for adults in the UK, offering free counselling, chat, peer groups and personal development tools.

Breakeven counselling

Breakeven offer free counselling for people with gambling-related issues, either face to face or via video call or phone, with offices in Eastbourne and St Leonards.

The Pelham Counselling service

A charity in Bexhill offering affordable counselling to people aged 11+ in person or over the phone or Zoom. 

Counselling directory (may not be low cost)


Neurodiverse conditions such as autism or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are not mental health conditions. However, for some people their neurodiversity is linked with their poor mental health. Sources of possible support are below:

Mental health support for people in minority groups

The Links Project

A multi-agency support and advice project for asylum seekers, refugees and new migrant communities living in East Sussex.

Bad Nerves, Mental Health

Friends Families and Travellers (FFT) provides confidential and private mental health support for Gypsies and Travellers.


Seaview is an open access wellbeing centre in St Leonards. It helps to improve the lives of people who are marginalised for a variety of reasons, and who often have mental health difficulties. Open 7 days a week over the winter.

LGBTQ+ support


MindOut is a mental health service run by and for lesbian, gay bisexual, trans and queer (LGBTQ) people, with lots of advice and guidance. Projects are now running in East Sussex.


Switchboard B&H is a Brighton-based charity with an LGBTQ helpline for people living in East Sussex.

  • Helpline: 01273 204050 (7.00pm to 9.30pm on Mon to Thu)
  • Website: Switchboard B&H
  • National Switchboard helpline: 0300 330 0630 (10am to 10pm daily)

Allsorts Youth Project

Listens to, connects and supports children and young people who are LGBT+ or exploring their sexual orientation and/or gender identity, and their families. Allsorts now has activities running in Eastbourne and Hastings and online groups in East Sussex.

The Clare Project

Provides a variety of support options for the trans, non-binary and intersex community in Brighton and East Sussex.

Mindline Trans+

National evening helpline offering emotional and mental health support for anyone who identifies as transgender, non-binary or genderfluid.

LGBTQ directory

This directory of free support (Sussex and UK wide) lists the local support and social groups run by and for people who identify as LGBTQ, or who are unsure or questioning their gender and/or sexuality.

East Sussex Community Information Service

Search ESCIS for both adult and youth LGBTQ+ support groups and organisations.

Mental health support for young people


Young people in East Sussex (aged 14 to 25 years) can access advice and support on emotional and mental wellbeing. The service is open daily from 11am to 6pm through video link, phone or email.

There are some face to face appointments available at i-Rock sites in Hastings, Eastbourne and Newhaven.


A digital wellbeing service to support 13–25 year olds in Sussex with their mental health, designed by young people, for young people. The website provides self-help information, handy toolkits and a directory of local services.


Free online counselling service for 12–18 year olds in East Sussex. It is not a crisis or emergency service, but can allow you to talk about your problems and feelings in a safe supportive and private space. Visit the website to register.

Sussex CAMHS

Support with emotional and mental wellbeing, for children, young people and their parents or carers. Their website has lots of information, resources and short films about common problems.

The Mix

National support for young people under 25, with an online community and a helpline, free counselling services and other support.

  • Website: The Mix
  • Helpline: 0808 8084994 (every day 4pm-11pm, freephone)


For support and information on services for children and young people up to 25, and their parents and carers. 

  • For children and young people: Find help
  • For parents: Supporting your child
  • Parents Helpline: 0808 802 5544 (Monday to Friday 9.30am to 4pm. Free for mobiles and landlines)

Support for eating disorders

People of any age or gender can develop eating disorders, and it's best to get help as soon as possible. The first place to go is your GP, who should refer you for further assessment or treatment by a specialist eating disorder service.

You can also talk to an advisor with Beat, the UK's leading eating disorder charity, and find information and resources.

Holding Space (Eastbourne)

A small charitable organisation which support families going through mental ill health. It offers free, friendly online support sessions for parents and carers, as well as phone support.

FSN (St Leonards and Bexhill)

FSN aims to provide effective and professional caring action without discrimination and favour for children and young people suffering the effects of poverty, disadvantage, neglect and abuse, with a number of projects.

Website: FSN

Support for new parents

New parents can experience an impact on their mental health during pregnancy and beyond, if you are worried you should speak with your GP or midwife as specialist help is available.

Parents in Mind can also support women and partners experiencing emotional health difficulties in pregnancy and within the first two years after birth.

Support with employment

Free skills and employability support

An online brochure full of the latest information on free to access skills, employment and other support, arranged by area.

Southdown Individual Placement and Support

Offer one-to-one support to gain and retain employment, self-employment, voluntary work and education. For adults (aged 18 years +) living in East Sussex who are using a mental health service.

Available across East Sussex

Work in Mind

One-to-one support to find and retain employment, self-employment, voluntary work and education for adults (aged 18 years +). Referrals are accepted direct from Health in Mind teams only.

Available across East Sussex

Education for learning and recovery

Sussex Recovery College

Free educational courses about mental health and recovery which are designed to increase your knowledge, skills and promote self-management. 

Face to face courses are available in Hastings, Eastbourne and Lewes, with many other courses delivered online. Open to people with a moderate to severe mental health challenge, their family and close friends, or people who work to support them.

Additional free online courses can also be accessed at Recovery College Online.

Adult Community Learning

East Sussex College offers activities and learning experiences which can be tailored to support people age 19+ with mild to moderate mental health issues. Normally available in Eastbourne, Lewes and Newhaven, limited courses are currently being delivered by video tutorials. Please contact the college to find out more and see what’s on offer.

Sussex Discovery College

The Discovery College is a community of children and young people up to 21 years and their families and supporters. They offer a range of free courses online and in different venues, which are fun and informative and support people to deal with mental health challenges.

Service user involvement and advocacy

Mental Health Lived Experience Advisory Group

If you or someone you care for has used mental health services, you may want to use your experiences to help shape future developments. 


Information and advocacy services for people who need support because of problems with their mental health.

Available across East Sussex.

Information, advice and campaigning

Rethink Mental Illness

Rethink improve the lives of people with diagnosed mental illness with expert information and successful campaigning. The advice and information service is open from 9.30am to 4pm Monday to Friday.

Bereavement support

East Sussex 1Space directory lists local and national support:

If you have been bereaved by suicide

Public Health England and the Zero Suicide Alliance have produced Help is at Hand for people bereaved by suicide or other sudden, traumatic death.

East Sussex Support for people bereaved by suicide

A new service for people whose loved one has died as a result of suicide, offering practical and emotional support.

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