The team behind a vital mental health service in Walsall which offers a calm space for people to receive support out-of-hours has received national recognition for the help it provides to the community.

The Sanctuary Hub in Walsall was named ‘Service of the Year’ at the Rethink Mental Illness awards last month, as part of the national mental health charity’s celebration of its work.

The Hub is run by Rethink Mental Illness and commissioned by Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, which is the lead provider of mental health, learning disabilities and autism services in Walsall, Dudley, Sandwell and Wolverhampton.

The Sanctuary Hub is a safe and friendly place where people can receive face-to-face support outside of usual mental health service hours.

The dedicated team, based on Queens Parade in Bloxwich, are on-hand to provide emotional support for those in distress or in need of reassurance, at times when people simply need to be listened to.

Lindsey Gooding, Contract Manager for Rethink Mental Illness Black Country Services, said: “Struggling with your mental health can be very isolating and it is often difficult to know where to turn, especially in the evenings or on weekends when other support services are closed. The team at the Sanctuary Hub is on-hand to listen and provide emotional support to people in Walsall at such times, and we’re delighted that this vital work has been commended.”

Joysna Patel, Service Manager, said, “I am very grateful for the opportunity of managing the Walsall Sanctuary Hub Crisis Café and honoured to serve the community of Walsall.

“Through the pandemic when other services were closed, Walsall Crisis Café was providing out of hours support to those experiencing a mental health crisis. We were offering one-to-one, face-to-face support which people found invaluable and benefitted from immensely.

“The service continues to do this, empowering people to attain a better quality of life. I am extremely proud of the passion, commitment and dedication of the teams working together. It is a team achievement and I feel ecstatic that we have been selected as the Service of the Year for 2022.” 

Marcus Law, Senior Commissioner for Mental Health at Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “I am delighted that the hard work and dedication of everyone at the Sanctuary Hub in Walsall has been recognised at the Rethink Mental Illness awards.

“The service plays an important role in helping people with mental health concerns in Walsall, and is a safe, welcoming environment where people can receive face-to-face support at evenings and weekends.

“The Sanctuary Hub is an invaluable support in Walsall and we are pleased to work with Rethink Mental Illness to provide Sanctuary Hubs to our communities across the Black Country.”

Other Sanctuary Hubs are available across the Black Country. The Dudley Sanctuary Hub is based at DY1 Community Centre, Stafford Street. The Sandwell Sanctuary Hub can be found at Hope Place, 321 High Street, West Bromwich, while the Wolverhampton Sanctuary Hub is based at 29-31 Temple Street.

Sanctuary Hubs are open Monday to Friday, 6pm to 11pm and Saturday and Sunday, noon to 11pm.

No referral is required to attend but visitors must be over 18 and registered with a GP in Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall or Wolverhampton.

Telephone support is also available via the Black Country 24/7 Urgent Mental Health Helpline by calling 0800 008 6516 or texting 07860 025281.