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Help in a crisis

 

If there is an immediate danger to life, please dial 999 or go to your nearest Accident and Emergency Department.

I am in Gloucestershire

If you or someone you know needs help in a mental health crisis, call our crisis teams.

Call 0800 169 0398.

And choose one of the following options depending on your location:

  • Option 1 for Stroud and Cotswolds
  • Option 2 for Gloucester and Forest
  • Option 3 for Cheltenham, Tewkesbury and North Cotswolds

Please note: telephone calls may be recorded. If you do not want that to happen, please tell the person who answers your call and they will phone you back on a ‘non-recordable’ telephone.

The number is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Occasionally, callers may be asked to leave their name and number on an answerphone. In these circumstances, staff will return the call within one hour.

I am in Herefordshire

If you are in Herefordshire and need support, please call us using one of the following numbers:

  • Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm, please contact the team or service who currently provide your care.
  • Monday to Friday, 5pm – 9am and 24 hours on weekends and bank holidays, please call our Mental Health Matters Helpline on: 0800 015 7271

These contact numbers are for people already in contact with our services. If you are not currently in contact with us, please call 111 or your GP.

Our out of hours, weekend and bank holiday service is provided by Mental Health Matters.

If you need help but are not in crisis, please contact your GP if in opening hours, or 111. If you don’t have a GP use the NHS service search to locate the nearest one to you. If your query is not urgent, you can find our contact details here.

Are you feeling vulnerable? Do you need to talk to somebody now?

samaritans

Call free on 116 123
If you are experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including those which could lead to suicide, you can call the Samaritans.

Stay Alive App

A pocket suicide prevention resource for the UK, packed full of useful information and tools to help you stay safe in crisis. You can use it if you are having thoughts of suicide or if you are concerned about someone else who may be considering suicide. The app can be accessed through the Apple Store, Google Play and downloaded as a pdf.

childline

Call free on 0800 11 11
If you are a child or a young person you may want to speak to Childline.

selfharm

Call 0808 816 0606
Or text 07537 410 022
A safe, supportive, non-judgmental and informative service for people who self harm, their friends, families and carers.
Opem every day 5pm – 10pm for phone and text support.

The potential health risks of legal highs are being highlighted by health professionals and carers.

Increased use of the chemical substances, more correctly referred to as novel psychoactive substances (NPS) or compounds, seems to suggest a notable trend in UK drug taking, experts suggest.

The substances can, however, have a serious impact on physical and mental health, and staff from the ²gether NHS Foundation Trust and people with experience of legal high use in their family say people need to be more aware of the dangers.

Someone who has first hand experience of the impact legal highs can have on their loved ones is the mother of a young Cheltenham man currently being treated by ²gether.

Sandra, who wishes to remain anonymous, said her son now realises the damage the substances were doing to him, but at the time they seemed like a safe and attractive stimulant.

“We first realised my son was using legal highs when he was being treated at an inpatient facility and they were found in his room,” she explained.

“His mental health had gone backwards very quickly and we didn’t realise why until the legal highs were found. I rang the owner of the shop he had bought them in and she told me she never sold them to people who were unwell, but there’s no way she can really tell.

“My son stopped using them and recovered but then we noticed he was relapsing, and we caught him using legal highs again. This time his physical health went downhill as well and he had a frightening experience.

“My son is very black and white in his thinking. He assumed that because they were legal they must be safe. Now he says he is no longer using them and he admits, looking back, that they caused his relapse.

“The quality of care my son is receiving is of the highest standard and appreciate that everything is being done by staff to aid his recovery.

“I just think it is a pity that the heavy legislation which ensures his safety is not backed up and supported by legislation which would make these drugs impossible for him or any other vulnerable person to have access to these substances.

“It seems such a pity when a highly committed and pro-active health care system is let down by the law and the people selling these drugs, who either have absolutely no knowledge of the damage these drugs can do or are fully aware but choose to remain complacent and greedy.”

Mental Health Nurse Shelley Jones, who is a Unit Manager (Modern Matron) within ²gether, said she too has serious concerns about the use of legal highs.

“I know of people buying them in both Cheltenham and Gloucester and they seem to be freely available on the internet as well,” she said.

“That doesn’t mean they aren’t harmful though. In fact, I would say they are more harmful than some illegal drugs in terms of the health implications.

“A number of people we work with have had an extremely bad reaction to these drugs – both in terms of a severe deterioration in their mental health, and extreme reactions in their physical health.

“We’ve also had families we work with comment on their concerns about legal highs and their use locally.

“They are dangerous enough when used on their own, but mixed with alcohol, prescription medication and other drugs, they can have a severe impact on someone’s health; people need to be aware of the risks”

Danny Morris, Development Manager with ²gether’s Drug Treatment and Advice Service Herefordshire (DASH), said that newer substances were increasingly common and that many people do take them without evident ill effects, but for some they cause serious issues.

He said: “Newer substances typically mimic the effects of more familiar controlled drugs are typically taken for the same reasons and in similar situations. While many people take them in a controlled manner without any problem, a small but significant proportion of people will suffer physical and mental health issues as a result.

“If people do not want to or cannot stop taking legal highs altogether, there are ways in which they can limit the health risks by, for example, not mixing them with other drugs or taking them at the same time as drinking alcohol.”

Anyone concerned that their health is being affected by the use of novel psychoactive substances  or ‘legal highs’ should speak to their GP or an organisation like the Independence Trust in Gloucestershire on 0845 863 8323 or DASH on 01432 263636.

Websites providing helpful advice on legal highs include http://www.nhs.uk/ and http://www.talktofrank.com/

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