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.

NHS 111 Mental health option

If you feel like you can't cope and are experiencing a mental health crisis, or are worried about someone else's mental health, you can get same-day or next day help by phoning the NHS 111 service, and selecting the mental health option. This will direct your call to local mental health support.

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

If you would like to get treatment for symptoms of anxiety or depression, you can refer yourself to your local free Talking Therapies service. 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 18 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 18+) 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 have Complex Emotional Needs (CEN) and who may have received a diagnosis of personality disorder.

The service made a film for people with the diagnosis and family, friends, and practitioners and this short animation may also be helpful.

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.

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.

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)

Neurodiversity

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

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

Information about local LGBTQ+ services can be found on our health and wellbeing page.

A 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

Local information on services for children and young people can be found on our Children and families page.

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 (Mon-Fri 4pm-11pm, freephone)
  • 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.

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.

The Sussex Local Maternity and Neonatal System (LMNS) are here to support parents, and offer advice and resources.

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. 

POhWER

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.

1Space East Sussex

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