AN award-winning service which supports people suffering a mental health crisis is celebrating its third anniversary.

Haven provides a ‘safe space’ for those aged 16-plus who are in need of urgent help.

Since it was launched, thousands of people across Bradford, Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven have benefited from the project.

Haven can be accessed all-year-round through Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust’s First Response service and is delivered by specialist staff from the charity, the Cellar Trust.

The aim is to help people struggling with emotional distress before their condition escalates and requires hospital treatment.

Grainne Eloi, general manager of mental health services at the care trust, said Haven was making a “huge difference” to people in the community.

She added: “When you’re experiencing a mental health crisis, having somewhere safe, calm and comfortable where you can sit and share everything you’re feeling is so important.

“People accessing the service have credited it with helping to give them the coping skills needed to manage crisis more confidently in the future.

“We would like to thank everyone involved for their continued commitment to the service – partnership working has been key to ensuring people in crisis get the help they need.”

Kim Shutler, chief executive of the Cellar Trust, said she was proud of the number of people the service had been able to help.

“Last year nearly 1,000 individuals received support,” she said.

“Overwhelmingly the feedback is that people value a calm, safe space to feel understood.

“The peer support element is crucial to that because our team has its own experiences of distress and recovery.

“The empathy and hope that this enables is invaluable and perfectly complements the more traditional statutory offer from our care trust and local authority colleagues.”

She added: “Since providing peer support at the Cellar Trust, our team has become more confident and found purpose and a passion in life – something that they are able to pass on to the people they help.

“In a recent survey, 97 per cent of our peer support workers said their role allowed them to give something back and share their experiences with others to help them on their recovery journey.”

Among those supported by the initiative was former teacher Hannah Nutting.

She began receiving support from Haven about a year ago when things became desperate – and she says it’s thanks to the service and its peer workers that her life is back on track.

Hannah, 29, is now completing a master’s degree in psychology, having been inspired to help others through her own experience of mental health.

And she has trained to become a peer support worker herself at Haven.

Hannah said her mental health problems had always just been attributed to the stress of her job.

“I was backwards and forwards to my doctor for a number of years and was on various medications,” she said.

“Then a couple of years ago I really started to notice the decline. Everything seemed to fall apart quickly. I couldn’t even get out of bed.

“I realised that something needed to change.”

Doctors referred Hannah to the First Response service and she was put in touch with Haven.

“As soon as I got to Haven and spoke to Emily – a peer support worker – it made such a difference,” she said.

“To suddenly have this amazing person sat in front of me who understood was just the best feeling.

“It was the first time I actually felt some hope.”

People can access Haven via First Response on 01274 221181.