Opportunity: developing a 24/7 mental health helpline for BNSSG

The Independent Mental Health Network (IMHN) is supporting the development of a new 24/7 mental health helpline due to start operating soon in the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG) area.

We are looking for up to fifteen people from across the BNSSG area, with experience of accessing mental health services, to participate in a focus group to inform the development of the helpline.

This session will take place on Monday 1st June between 14:30 – 16:00. The session will be hosted online via Zoom. As a thank you for participating, an involvement payment of £20 is being offered for taking part. This will be paid by bank transfer after the focus group has taken place.

Please click here to register for the focus group. To note, you must register via this link if you would like to attend. Registration will close once fifteen people sign up.

For more information, please email engagement[@]imhn.org (make sure to remove the square brackets from the email address). Click here for more information about using Zoom.

Further information about the helpline

Vita Health Group (who currently provide local IAPT services) and the local mental health trust (Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust) will be jointly running a new 24/7 mental health helpline.

This line is expected to perform three key functions:

  1. Provide a first response for urgent mental health need and self-defined crisis;
  2. Provide a level of triage in order people receive the support they need;
  3. Signpost people to appropriate community and statutory services.

It is hoped that the helpline will reduce pressure on accident and emergency departments, and will be linked to Children and Young People services, to create a seamless point of access and information. It is proposed that callers will receive therapeutic support, with signposting to community or statutory services where appropriate.

If you would like to know more about the focus group or get involved with this project, then please email: engagement[@]imhn.org (make sure to remove the square brackets from the email address).

May 28, 2020 at 10:59 am

Please note that this guide was put together for the December 2019 to January 2020 festive period. The information contained within the guide may now be out of date.

Update: in response to feedback, we have assembled a re-formatted version of the guide that is less condensed and intended to be easier to read. Please click here to download it. 

The Independent Mental Health Network (IMHN) have produced a guide outlining the services providing wellbeing and mental health support available to people in the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire period over the Christmas 2019 and New Year 2020 period. This follows on from the success of last year’s guide in helping people and communities navigate what is available at this time of this year.

After compiling this guide for the Bristol area for a number of years, and in response to feedback and requests from a large number of organisations and individuals, we are pleased to include details of appropriate services for the South Gloucestershire and North Somerset area in this year’s guide.

About the Guide

The guide lists mental health and wellbeing support available over the seasonal period, making note of any changes to opening or operating times, and contact details. It brings together information about mental health support from both NHS and voluntary & community sector partners that can be accessed.

Where a service is available to individuals living in either Bristol, North Somerset, or South Gloucestershire, the service will be listed under all three sections.

The guide also lists national helplines.

IMHN CEO, Tom Renhard, said:

“The festive season, whilst a time of celebration and relaxation for many, can be difficult for some. Many people may feel increasingly isolated at this time of year, or may be struggling with their mental health and wellbeing for a variety of reasons.

We are pleased to produce this guide for the fourth year in a row, aiming to assist people right across the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire area in accessing the right support at the right time, should they need to.

The guide has been drafted to help people find the right information quickly, and has been shared with local organisations and charities. We would encourage you to share the guide with anyone you think might benefit from reading it.”

Click the image below to access the guide. Alternatively, the download link for the guide (in .pdf format) can be found here.


December 17, 2019 at 5:08 pm

Content note; please note that this piece contains discussions of suicide and self-harm. 

The Suicide Prevention Innovation Fund, launched by IMHN in the run up to Shine On (a campaign about working together to prevent suicide) back in September 2019. The fund was launched to support local groups whose work helps to prevent suicide and self-harm across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (‘BNSSG’).

We were delighted to receive a large variety of applications from a number of local groups across the area, with some original initiatives concerning suicide prevention. Many of these have already taken place – you can read about what went on here.

Due to the success of the fund, IMHN and the Shine On campaign are excited to launch a second round of funding, for initiatives taking place into the new year of 2020.

About the Fund

The Suicide Prevention Innovation Fund supports local groups whose work helps to prevent suicide and self-harm across the BNSSG area. In particular, we are looking for imaginative and innovative projects which aim to reduce the numbers of suicides in:

  • middle aged men
  • men and women aged 16-25
  • BAME communities
  • LGBTQ+ communities
  • Disabled communities

This innovation grant is available to support new or emerging projects. They can benefit from a small pot of funding that is intended to support initiatives that prevent suicides and reduce self-harm in the BNSSG area.

Applicants can apply for one-off funding grants of up to £250 towards their project (or up to £500 where it is across BNSSG).

How do I apply and when is the closing date?

The application form can be found here. Completed application forms need to be submitted to: engagement[@]imhn.org (removing the brackets from that email address).

Any applications will be considered in the order that they are received; please therefore send your application in as soon as you can, as interest is high.

December 6, 2019 at 5:19 pm

Do you have lived experience of mental health crisis or attempting to access mental health crisis services?

We are looking for up to six lived experience representatives to join a crisis pathway redesign event.

The details are below:

Date: Friday 15 November 2019

Times: 09:30am -16:30pm

Location: Holiday Inn, Bond Street, Bristol, BS1 3LE (next to the Bristol Bear Pit roundabout).

About the role

The aim of the day is to progress the development of a new blueprint for BNSSG crisis services. We want to come to together as system partners to co-produce the crisis services of the future.

Your role will be to help shape the conversations on the day and what is developed.

Lived experience attendees at the service redesign event will:

  • Provide the perspectives of people who use mental health crisis services (or have attempted to).
  • Use any personal experience as a patient of the current services in a constructive and objective way to ensure views are as representative as possible.
  • Be available to attend the event for the whole day.
  • Understand that they may be asked to respect the confidentiality of items discussed at the event.
  • Contribute to feedback on presentations given at the meetings, some of which will be made by people who use are currently using or have used services.
  • Feedback to IMHN on matters discussed at the event.
  • Help others attending decide on appropriate outcome measurements that will capture the experiences of those trying to access the services in the future.

BNSSG CCG and IMHN will provide the following support to representatives:

  • An allowance of £84.00 for attending the whole event.
  • Reasonable out of pocket travel expenses from within the Bristol, North Somerset & South Gloucestershire area (taxis must be agreed in advance).
  • Free parking in the NCP Car Park by the Holiday Inn (where travelling by car).
  • Lunch will also be provided (please tell us about any dietary requirements).
  • Support to take part in the day from BNSSG CCG and IMHN.

Supporting Statementand Deadline

We are asking applicants to write no more than 250 words stating how they meet the criteria listed in the experience, knowledge and skills section. Please do specify if you have personal experience of crisis services as part of your supporting statement. If you need more advice or help, please feel free to contact Tom.

Please email expressions of interest to tom[@]imhn.org (removing the brackets from the email address) by Monday 11 November 2019. We will notify successful applicants by Tuesday 12 November 2019.

You can read more about the opportunity here.


November 6, 2019 at 5:53 pm

Press Release: Announcing Shine On

The Independent Mental Health Network (IMHN), with the support of its branches and partner organisations, are proud to announce the launch of Shine On, a campaign about working together to prevent suicide. The campaign will initially run over the winter period of 2019 to 2020, sparking conversations and opportunities to get involved in suicide prevention initiatives across the local areas of Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.

The campaign will feature a range of events and activities exploring the complex topic of suicide, and how we can work together to prevent it. We will be discussing how we can move forward together with effective suicide prevention work, and how we can contribute to the wider conversation about the stigma that still surrounds mental health and suicide generally.

A booklet has also been produced in hard copy and digital format. It will be distributed across the campaign area, giving details of local mental health services and helplines, different lived experience perspectives of suicide prevention, and more information about the series of events.

Tom Renhard, CEO of IMHN, said

We want to bring people together to work more closely on suicide prevention. It is humbling to see how many organisations, community groups and individuals are signing up to get involved.

As someone who has experienced bereavement by suicide, I know how vital this work is and the difference it can make. By working together, we can enable more initiatives to flourish and support a wider regional ambition to reduce the number of people taking their own lives. One life lost is one too many, and there is plenty for us all to do to ensure people know there is support available out there.


Justine, chair of IMHN’s North Somerset Branch (Clarity-NSIMHN), said

Bereavement from suicide is deeply affective, both on an individual level, and as the ripples spread out through any community or network. The gaps left by those dying by suicide never go away.

Locally, Clarity-NSIMHN have roles in suicide prevention work and are collaborating with other partners to identify ways that may reduce deaths by suicide.

As IMHN’s North Somerset branch, we wish to shine a light on suicide and work together to prevent it.

Notes for Editors

What is the Independent Mental Health Network (IMHN)?

IMHN are a member-led organisation that work for and in the interests of people with lived experience of mental health. We support work improving local mental health services, contribute and campaign on mental health matters happening both locally and nationally, and actively challenge mental health stigma by working with partner organisations.

Why is the campaign being run in the Bristol, North Somerset, and South Gloucestershire area?

In 2017, NHS England allocated an amount of money to address the higher than average suicide rate in the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire area. This fund is managed by the BNSSG Suicide Prevention Transformation Fund Working Group, and funds initiatives such as Second Step’s Hope Project, local campaigning and awareness raising, and more. This Working Group is supporting IMHN in delivering this campaign. You can find out more information here.

When will the campaign run until?

The campaign is ongoing over the winter months of 2019 into 2020. There will be a number of events taking place late November 2019, with activities continuing to run until January 2020.

What is the Suicide Prevention Innovation Fund?

As part of this campaign, £4500 is being distributed via a seed fund for local organisations and individuals to run their own event or initiative that combats suicide and related mental difficulties in some way. We are pleased to announce that a number of successful bids have been already made. You can find out more about the fund and its future here.

Who are the partners of the campaign?

This campaign is supported by the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Suicide Prevention Transformation Working Group. The Working Group is a partnership of local organisations that aim to address the higher-than-average rate of suicide across the local area. The group consists of:

  • Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust
  • Bristol City Council
  • Bristol North Somerset & South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (BNSSG CCG)
  • Community Access Support Service (CASS)
  • Independent Mental Health Network (IMHN)
  • North Somerset Council
  • Public Health England
  • Second Step
  • South Gloucestershire Council
  • University of Bristol
  • University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust

Where Can I Get More Information?

  • the campaign website can be found at www.shine-on.life
  • for further enquiries, please contact Ali at ali[at]imhn.org, or engagement[at]imhn.org

November 6, 2019 at 5:14 pm

This news item was originally posted in October 2019. Since then, we are pleased to announce the launch of the Shine On campaign and the completion  of a number of initiatives funded by the Suicide Prevention Innovation Fund, with more to come in the coming months. To stay up to date, visit the Shine On website!

Content note; please note that this piece contains discussions of suicide and self-harm. 

As part of work taking place in the South West to combat early deaths by suicide, the Bristol branch of the Independent Mental Health Network (BIMHN) is supporting the Suicide Prevention Innovation Fund. This will form part of a suicide prevention campaign later this year, taking place Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.

The fund has been launched to support local groups whose work helps to prevent suicide and self-harm across the local area. Events, initiatives and activities in support of this aim can benefit from funding of up to £250 (or £500 if the event takes place across the three areas).

You can read more about the launch of the fund here. Watch out for more updates and information about the upcoming main campaign, coming soon!

More information about BIMHN’s work on Suicide Prevention

This Winter’s campaign, and the Suicide Prevention Innovation Fund discussed here, has been initiated by the Bristol North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (‘BNSSG’) Suicide Prevention Transformation Fund Group. This group has been in operation since May 2018. The group manages an amount of money, allocated by NHS England, to address the issue of a relatively high suicide rate across the local Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP).

The group has already funded campaigning activities and initiatives such as the Hope Project, working to reduce suicide in men.

The Bristol branch of IMHN, BIMHN, sends two representatives to the group meetings, both of whom have lived experience of suicide. Other partners of the group include Bristol City Council, BNSSG Clinical Commissioning Group, Community Access Support Service Bristol, and South Gloucestershire Council.

October 4, 2019 at 12:38 pm