New 'Wellbeing Vehicle' for Shropshire Mental Health Support
22 Nov 2022

 A pioneering new 'Wellbeing Vehicle' is to help support people in harder to reach communities across Shropshire giving them better access to mental health service.  

Shropshire Mental Health Support is launching its new 'Wellbeing Vehicle' - an innovative new venture to support people in harder to reach communities and give them access to MHS services. 

The award-winning charity was established (as Shropshire MIND) in 1974 and changed the name to Shropshire MHS in April 2021. It provides a diverse range of quality services across the county for the one in four people and their families acknowledged to be affected by mental or emotional distress.

Currently, it provides over 13 different services, including group work based at its Shrewsbury premises and at other venues as needs arise. It also provides an out of hours service at the Shropshire Sanctuary, for people in crisis who are referred by the Police, Ambulance, Crisis Team or A & E.

Heather Ireland, manager at Shropshire MHS, said: "We are striving to reduce the debilitation, alienation, stigma, and social isolation experienced by vulnerable people living in rural areas.  

"We pride ourselves on finding new ways of expanding our services as the demand for help increases at a rapid rate, giving our community the aid that is required. Our latest innovative venture is our wellbeing vehicle which will support people in harder to reach communities and give them access to our services.  

"We are currently planning our programme and are very nearly ready to kick-start this project. The vehicle will have two members of staff on board to listen to anyone seeking support, we know this will be a lifeline for some people in harder to reach areas of Shropshire."

Those seeking help will then be signposted to specific services and given the opportunity to benefit from other support services provided by MHS, whether that be group support or support via the crisis out of hours service, or structured support in the 're-connect programme' which provides a toolkit for those struggling with their mental health.  

The vehicle will be armed with literature and information about other organisations and services that may be of interest.

"Our aim is to reach the remotest part of the county and give people hope," Heather added. "Since Covid, Shropshire Mental Health Support has seen a rise in mental health challenges and currently offers telephone support to around 700 people, as well as other much needed, well utilised groups."

The fundraising for this vehicle was originally kickstarted by Gary Broome, who raised £4000 at his festival “Go Feral for Mental Health” back in September 2021. He was very kindly given permission to use Farmer Phil’s Festival site in Ratlinghope. 

Gary was given phone support by Shropshire MHS for some time, but due to transport he couldn’t attend the main centre to take part in support groups.

The Rose Patterson Foundation have funded staff for the wellbeing vehicle for one year. Their motivation was to help prevent anyone going through what their family have been through. They want everyone in our community to get the support they need no matter where they live.