East Sussex mental health directory

People in crisis and suicide prevention

Feeling unable to cope, worried you may hurt yourself or somebody else and/or experiencing suicidal feelings?

For immediate help

If your life - or someone else's life - is in immediate danger, please call 999 or go to A&E.

For same or next day help

You can get support with your mental health in different ways depending on what you prefer. All services are free.

Phone 111 and chose 'mental health' (free phone 24/7)

If you or someone else is experiencing a mental health crisis, the NHS 111 'mental health option' is there to offer support and get help if needed.

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.

During busy periods, you may need to wait for someone to answer your call. 

Visit a Staying Well crisis café

Staying Well provides a support service for adults over 18 experiencing distress due to their mental health, during evenings and weekends when other support may be unavailable. 

The Eastbourne Staying Well is open 7 days a week, 4pm to 10.30pm on weekdays and 3pm to 10.30pm at weekends. Hastings has the same timings but currently does not open on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Phone 0800 023 6475 and choose option 1 for Eastbourne, or 2 for Hastings St Leonards, or use the Staying Well website for further information. 

Text Shout Sussex service

By texting the word SUSSEX to 85258, you can access a free, confidential, 24/7 service and have a text conversation with a trained volunteer. The volunteers offer real-time support if you are anxious, stressed, depressed, suicidal or overwhelmed, and can signpost to local services. You may prefer this to speaking on the phone. 

Call the Samaritans

Phone 116 123 (24/7) or visit the Samaritans website.

Download the Stay Alive App 

This is a suicide prevention resource full of useful information and tools to help you stay safe in crisis.

For urgent mental health support

Call 999 or go to A&E if you do not feel you can keep yourself or someone else safe. A mental health emergency should be taken as seriously as a physical one.

Two East Sussex hospitals have an A&E department.

  • Conquest Hospital – The Ridge, St Leonards-on-Sea, TN37 7RD
  • Eastbourne District General Hospital – Kings Drive, Eastbourne, BN21 2UD

For those living on the edge of the county:

  • Royal Sussex County Hospital, Eastern Rd, Brighton BN2 5BE
  • Princess Royal Hospital, Lewes Rd, Haywards Heath RH16 4EX

Please consider whether your GP, other support services or the NHS 111 Mental Health option can help, before travelling to A&E.

If you have a care plan and crisis card from Sussex Partnership mental health services, these will include details of who you should contact in a crisis. If you can’t find your care plan, contact your community team during the day – 9am to 5pm – from Monday to Friday. Ask for your care coordinator or the person on duty.

Experiencing a significant change in your mental health?

You should call NHS 111 or visit NHS 111 online for advice if you - or the person you are concerned about - experience a significant change in your mental health and are not already receiving care from mental health services. 

This might include:

  • Hearing or seeing things that are not experienced by other people, for example hearing voices
  • Having strong beliefs that are not shared by others, for example believing there is a conspiracy against you
  • Having excessive energy or movements, sleeping very little
  • Behaving in a bizarre and out of character way
  • Changes in behaviour like wanting to avoid people, lack of basic self-care.

Whilst these can be normal experiences, they can also be signs of something more serious. 

Further information on mental health services

Other suicide prevention services

Sussex Partnership NHS Trust Urgent Help Advice

Preventing suicide in Sussex

Advice for people who may be at risk of suicide and their friends and family, on warning signs and how to seek help.

‘Warning Signs’ is a suicide prevention campaign targeting East Sussex, West Sussex and Brighton & Hove, specifically aiming to support the reduction of annual suicide amongst men in Sussex.

Grassroots Suicide Prevention

Work with communities, organisations, services and individuals to help them to become ready, willing and able to effectively support someone at risk of suicide.

Available in Brighton & Hove with advice for all.

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.

Mankind

Mankind was set up in 2020 by Eastbourne friends to help support men who have mental health worries, or just need someone to talk to without judgement. Weekly groups in Eastbourne and Heathfield.

Counselling partnership

Free to access, timely support for those who are currently at risk of taking their own life, or who have attempted suicide. Support is also offered to people bereaved by suicide.

RunningSpace

Based in Sidley Bexhill, but with other free running groups in Hastings Ore. RunningSpace promotes life and good mental health through small friendly groups. No running experience necessary, all faiths / no faith welcome.

National services

  • Papyrus suicide prevention service for under 35s offering free confidential support, a 24/7 helpline and practical advice
  • Zero Suicide Alliance is committed to suicide prevention and offers free training and resources.

If you have been affected by suicide

National Support

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

Suicide&Co supports people bereaved by suicide, with a helpline run by bereavement counsellors.

Sussex Bereaved by suicide support

Triage and support for anyone bereaved by suicide in Sussex, delivered by Cruse across Sussex.

East Sussex Support for people bereaved by suicide

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

If you have been affected by witnessing a suicide

Firsthand is a new resource to support and advise people who are impacted by the suicide of someone they don't know.

Worried about money, housing or another issue that is affecting your mental health?

There are lots of ways you can get practical help with issues that may be affecting your mental health.

  • Money worries and cost of living support

Cost of living support | East Sussex County Council

  • Help with housing

Housing | East Sussex County Council

  • Support for people affected by domestic abuse

Home - Safe In Sussex

  • Drug and alcohol recovery support

Addiction services | East Sussex County Council

Social Prescribing service at your GP surgery

Social Prescribers can connect you to support, services and activities to help address the challenges and issues you may be struggling with.  Ask your GP or GP surgery if they have a Social Prescribing service. Waiting times differ between GP surgeries. 

Other Mental Health services in East Sussex


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 or NHS Talking Therapies, 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. We also have information for Carers, ex-armed forces and addiction services.

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

Feeling stressed, anxious, low or experiencing panic attacks?

The following are services that you can contact directly without needing to be referred by or be registered with a GP.

NHS Talking Therapies for anxiety and depression

If you live in East Sussex, are over 18 and are feeling more stressed than usual, anxious or depressed, you can refer yourself to your local NHS Talking Therapies service. 

Services are free, confidential and provide a wide range of support, including  courses, online programmes and one-to-one sessions. They aim to help you understand your symptoms and take practical steps to improve your mental health. 

NHS Talking Therapies is unable to provide urgent mental health help or support to people experiencing more severe difficulties with their mental health. Instead, please see a GP who can refer you to the appropriate service.

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. Ask your GP if they have a Social Prescribing service.

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


Self-help for good mental health

It is normal to sometimes feel anxious or low, whatever your personal situation.  There are steps you can take to try and improve your mental health

This page signposts ways that you can help yourself. If you continue to have concerns about your mental health, please visit Mental health services and support.

Self-help mental health resources

Every Mind Matters

Every Mind Matters offers simple steps to help you look after your mental health and wellbeing:

Health In Mind resources

Mindfulness

  • NHS mindfulness gives you an introduction to mindfulness and links to resources.

National Mind

Walking for wellbeing

East Sussex 123 Walks

Exercise and getting out into green spaces if you can is good for your wellbeing. This site has short walking routes between 1 and 3 miles, with printer friendly maps and reasonable parking.

East Sussex Health Walks

These are weekly walks all over East Sussex, and an opportunity to meet people and get some exercise in the great outdoors.

Dealing with loneliness

National Mind and Every Mind Matters have  advice and tips, and other places you can go for support.

Just Friends

Several free social groups across East Sussex for anyone who lives alone, offering an opportunity for friendship through activities including lunches, trips and walking groups.

Phone services for wellbeing support

The Silver Line

A free, confidential telephone service for older people. Open 24/7.

Independent Age

An advice and support service for older people. Open weekdays, 8.30am to 6.30pm.

Mobilise Cuppa (for all carers)

Join other carers for a virtual cuppa and supportive chats twice a week. There is also lots of helpful information on their resources page.

Farming Community Network helpline:

A national helpline for farmers which offers a chance to talk to someone who understands the challenges. You can call between 7am and 11pm every day if you need help with stress, depression, alcohol or drug dependency, isolation or have other worries.

Mind Wellbeing projects in Hastings and Eastbourne

Workshops and information to support positive mental wellbeing, and awareness and understanding of mental health. The service works with young people who live in Hastings and Eastbourne, and people of any age with long-term conditions (such as a mental health condition or physical disability). 

There is further information and contact details on the Mind website.

Men’s mental health

Men's Health library resources

East Sussex Libraries share a collection of online tools and resources to support men's mental health and wellbeing.

Room to Rant (16-25s) rap and lyric workshops

A relaxed weekly space for young men to rap and get stuff off their chest, run by experienced and accomplished rappers. Now running in Eastbourne, with an online group for those who can't meet in person.

Men's mental health project

The Men's Mental Health Project in Hastings focusses on improving community support for men aged 30-59 years.

Men in Mind project

Helping public facing staff to have supportive conversations about men's mental health.

Mankind Support Group

Mankind was set up in 2020 by Eastbourne friends to help support men who have mental health worries, or just need someone to talk to without judgement.

Men's Sheds

Local spaces for men to connect, make friends and enjoy activities. There are groups all over East Sussex.

Podcasts about men's mental health

  • UK Men's mental health podcasts aiming to get men talking about mental health more: Manup!

National Peer Support Services

Side by Side (offered through national Mind)

A supportive online community, where you can feel at home talking about your mental health and connect with others who understand what you are going through. It's open to anybody who has an experience of mental health problems, or is closely connected to someone that has. It’s available 24/7 and moderated daily from 8.30am until midnight.

To join: Side by Side

Clic online peer support

Clic is an online community of people who have been affected by a mental health problem, where you can share experiences and find resources, advice and information.

Libraries services

East Sussex Libraries have pages on wellbeing with lots of resources and signposting. If you live or work in East Sussex you can also access free e-books and audiobooks.

Our libraries offer self-help books for people who are finding it difficult to cope or need advice on a specific emotional or mental health problem.

East Sussex College open courses

ESG offers adults (19 plus) community learning opportunities which are usually free and online.  You might want to boost your wellbeing by trying something new and creative or improving your employability.


Caring for someone with a mental health condition

If you look after someone with a mental health condition in an unpaid capacity, you are a carer. By offering them support, you’ll play a vital role in their wellbeing and recovery.

Please see our general advice and information about support services for your relative or friend on the other mental health directory pages.

There is also a range of specific support available to you in your caring role:

Carer’s directory

Search our directory for support services

East Sussex Care for the Carers

Support for carers

Mental health carers project

Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Advice and support for carers

Supporting someone with a mental health problem

National Mind advice

Supporting someone in crisis

Mental health directory information and advice

Carer’s information

Caring for someone

Young carers (aged under 18)

Support for young carers

Carers O’Clock

Monthly sessions in East Sussex for unpaid carers to focus on their own wellbeing with artist-led creative activity, conversation and a freshly cooked lunch.

Mobilise Cuppa

Join other carers for a virtual cuppa and supportive chats. There is also lots of helpful information on their resources page.

Holding Space

Support for parents, children and families in the Eastbourne area who are experiencing worries about mental health.


Addiction services

Local services

STAR (Change Grow Live)

Our goal is to help service users regain control, change the direction of their lives, grow as a person and live life to its full potential.

Available across the whole of East Sussex

East Sussex Recovery Alliance (ESRA)

ESRA provides drug and alcohol recovery services for anyone over the age of 18.

Oasis Women’s Recovery Service

Support for women affected by drug or alcohol problems and their families, with groups in Eastbourne, Hastings & St Leonards and Uckfield.

Under 25s Substance Misuse Service

If you or a loved one are struggling with alcohol or any drug, contact the Under 25s Substance Misuse Service. There are staff in the team from different professional backgrounds like nurses and social workers all working together to assist you.

Adfam East Sussex

The service in East Sussex provides direct support to families and carers through information, one-to-one support and group and peer support. Adfam will also run a programme of training for professionals to develop their skills in working with the family and carers of substance misusers.

Seaview Project

Seaview provides outreach services with practical support for people in the Hastings area who are drugs and alcohol users.

East Sussex Veterans' Hub

The Hub provides recovery activities for people accessing substance misuse services and Project ADDER.

Project ADDER

Project ADDER (Addiction, Diversion, Disruption, Enforcement and Recovery) is funded by the Home Office to tackle drug use and dependency. The focus for East Sussex is Hastings, which has one of the highest drug-related death rates in England.

National Gambling Clinic

A free confidential NHS service supporting anyone 13+ years old who lives in the South East and is experiencing harm from gambling.

Website: NGC

Breakeven

Free support for people in East Sussex experiencing problem gambling.

Website: Breakeven

National Centre for Gaming Disorders

A free national NHS service for people over 13 and their families.

Website: NCGD

Online support

These services are offer helplines, online meetings and information to support recovery from substance misuse:

Adfam is a national charity working to improve the lives of families and friends of people with problems caused by drugs and alcohol. They have also recently developed a toolkit (PDF) for families affected by co-occurring mental ill-health and substance misuse.


Armed forces services

Organisations

Local mental health support for veterans

The Veterans Mental Health and Wellbeing Service offers free NHS mental health services to all ex-serving members of the UK Armed Forces and service personnel living in Sussex.

Combat Stress

A national charity to support veterans’ mental health, with a 24/7 helpline

  • Phone: 0800 138 1619 (for veterans and families)
  • Phone: 0800 323 4444 (for serving and families)
  • Website: Combat Stress

Sussex Armed Forces Network (SAFN)

If you, or a close member of your family, have served or are serving in the UK Armed Forces there may be additional help and support available.

Available across East Sussex

SSAFA the Armed Forces Charity

Practical, financial and emotional support for service personnel, veterans and their families. They offer a free and confidential support line 9am to 5pm Mon to Fri.

  • Phone: 0800 260 6767 (Forcesline)
  • Website: SSAFA

East Sussex Veterans' Hub

A local charity which aims to support the wellbeing of veterans of the armed forces living in East Sussex.

  • Phone: 0330 1077808 (free) 
  • Website: ESVH

Veterans' Growth

A charity in Westfield Rother dedicated to helping ex-service people with horticultural therapy and support.

Other veterans' services can be found on 1Space.


Mental health and money worries

Welfare benefits service and financial advice

Are worries about money or debts impacting your mental health? This service offers free, confidential advice and information. Open to people living in East Sussex Mon to Fri, 9am to 5pm.

Shout Sussex 24/7 text service

If trying to make ends meet is having an impact on your mental health, text SUSSEX to 85258 for free, confidential support at any time of day or night.

Mental Health and Money Advice

This national impartial organisation has lots of advice and information on managing money, debts and benefits, as well as a toolkit to help you understand, manage and improve your mental and financial health.

Money Helper 

A government-approved online advice service, providing impartial free advice on money and debt issues.

StepChange debt advice

A national debt help charity giving free, confidential and expert advice. Support with a personal action plan for as long as it's needed, online or over the phone.

Mental Health Breathing Space

This is a debt relief scheme if you are receiving specific types of mental health crisis treatment. The protections offered include pausing enforcement action, and freezing interest and charges on your debts.

Money Saving Expert

Specialist advice and a Mental Health & Debt guide.

For more local and national information

Was this page helpful?

Click or tap the rating which best represents your experience.