Oasis Open Day 2018

The Oasis mental health drop-in service held an open day on 18th April 2018. Here’s a taste of what the service offers and its achievements to date.

Steve and Judi (left and centre) are staff at The Oasis, and Olive is a retired GP supporting the group

On a corner of a small parade of shops on the Cove Road, The Oasis looks unassuming. However if you step inside you’ll find what its users cherish – a good, welcoming atmosphere and helpful staff. Or, if the staff are tied up, someone will offer you a cup of tea, a place to sit, some introductions - and above all, no judgement.

The Oasis offers a seven evenings a week drop-in service, for anyone in Farnborough and Yateley - from those who find themselves overwhelmed by a mental health crisis to those who just want to get out and chat. Attendees are at different stages of their journey to recovery, and get support from the staff and each other (the latter from attendees who have done Peer Support Training).

In the last 6 months around 40 people attended Oasis each month, and an average of 15 new people come along every month. Some just pop in a few times, while others call in most days.who

Shaun has been dropping in regularly since May 2017, when, having recently returned to the area, he came at the recommendation of his mum’s GP. Events had upended his previously settled life, leaving him with physical health problems, no work or money, concerns about the family he was separated from and in a low state. A visit to The Oasis helped him start to build a way back.

‘At first I was able to make plans for two days ahead, then three, then five and so on. The staff are attuned to pick up the little signals if I need more help. They signposted me to CAB to get help with the urgent needs, and now the regular visits help me avoid becoming isolated, and give me a chance to talk to other people. When you have mental health issues and live on your own, simple things can quickly become overwhelming if you don’t have someone to talk to.’

People struggling with their mental health can be reluctant to venture into a place like Oasis for any number of reasons. But the current attendees firmly quash the idea that someone vulnerable might find themselves surrounded by negative vibes if they do go in.

‘Coming here means you avoid being isolated, and you end up supporting each other,’ says Shaun. ‘There’s no judging, and as everyone is at a different point on their journey, you can go from needing advice to being able to give advice to others quite fast.’

The importance of feeling safe and welcomed in a place that’s supportive but not too hectic was echoed by Aiden, another young attendee. Aiden had used other support services in the past but as time went on found himself struggling to cope, and his mental health started to deteriorate. The Oasis Manager Judi mentioned the new facility and he decided to give it a try, and found himself getting back on track and staying there. He gives a lot of the credit for that to the good atmosphere and the staff.

Attendees also highlighted the value of activities that need mindfulness, in other words your full focus. Shaun has set up and facilitates attends an art group at The Oasis on Friday evenings,afternoons and The Oasis also provides specific courses for attendees not delivered elsewhere and dependant on need. These have included Anger Management and How to set Healthy Boundaries. The signposting offered by Oasis is also very useful, as there are many daytime services that cover periods when The Oasis, being an evening service, is not available.

To find out more about The Oasis including how to contact them, visit www.justwellbeing.org.uk