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A wellbeing house for people experiencing acute mental illness and emotional distress will be opened in Gloucester.

The premises, in Alexandra Road, will be operated by a local branch of the national mental health charity Mind.

In an initiative supported by both ²gether NHS Foundation Trust and NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, the premises will enable adults to access support, therapy and advice for up to two weeks. 

Dr Donna Lovell, Chief Executive Officer of Swindon Mind, said: “We have experience of running a similar wellbeing house in another part of the country. The service can prove to be a lifeline for people who might be experiencing the early stages of mental health crisis or for those who are experiencing emotional distress.

“We have learnt that sometimes people in emotional distress require a temporary place to stay away from their home but that a hospital environment or medical intervention is not always the best option.

“A wellbeing house provides another option when an individual is feeling overwhelmed and needs somewhere peaceful and away from everyday life to be able to take steps to recover from a period of mental illness.

“We will offer that space and also have access to a range of support services in partnership with ²gether NHS Foundation Trust should any further help be required.”

The premises will have five or six individual bedrooms, with shared cooking and communal facilities. It will be managed by staff and volunteers of Swindon Mind.

People can access the service by referral from a range of agencies, including GPs, housing services and charities.

The building was previously home to a mental health recovery unit, and is owned by ²gether NHS Foundation Trust.

Les Trewin, Service Director of ²gether NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are really pleased to be working with Mind on this important initiative. The house will enable residents to manage their own mental health and wellbeing, but in a homely environment with access to a wide range of services.

“We are looking forward to seeing the building transformed into a therapeutic environment for the benefit of our local communities in Gloucester and beyond.”

Dr Tristan Lench, Clinical Lead for Mental Health at NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “The CCG is committed to making sure that people get the help they need when they have a mental health crisis and developing new services that can help prevent mental health crises from happening.

“The wellbeing house is an exciting development between 2gNHSFT and Mind and the CCG is proud to be a partner in helping to make this happen.”                                                                                                                      

The Alexandra Road property has been empty since 2013, having previously been run as a recovery unit for people overcoming mental illness. It will now be refurbished before being reopened in the coming months.