ANYONE struggling this Christmas doesn't have to feel alone – help is always available.

That's the message from Dorset's Access Mental Heath services, which will be open as usual during Christmas and the New Year.

The service, which is run by Dorset HealthCare, offers round-the-clock help and advice to those in need. Anyone needing support can access help both over the phone and face-to-face, including evenings during the festive and New Year period.

Services include:

• Connection – a 24/7 telephone helpline (0300 1235440), which can provide direct help or signpost those in need to a range of other services

• The Retreat – a drop-in support service in Bournemouth and Dorchester, open 4.30pm until midnight every day. Run in partnership with the Dorset Mental Health Forum, it provides a safe space where visitors can talk through your problems with mental health workers or peer specialists

• Community Front Rooms – drop-in support services in Bridport, Shaftsbury and Wareham, open 3.15pm until 10.45pm, Thursday to Sunday. They are run by local charities - The Burrough Harmony Centre (Bridport), Hope (Shaftesbury) and Bournemouth Churches Housing Association (Wareham) - and are all fully staffed by mental health professionals and peer support workers.

The Retreat and Community Front Rooms are for people aged 18 and over, and those in need don’t need an appointment, but can drop in whenever.

People of any age can call Connection, at any time. Staff can arrange an assessment for those in need of urgent clinical help within four hours.

Steve Jones, Dorset HealthCare’s mental health community services manager, said: “This time of year can be overwhelming - many feel under pressure and unable to cope.

“The Access Mental Health services will continue to run as usual so people can get the support they need, at the exact time they need it. They can talk to mental health staff and peer specialists, people with their own experience of such issues, in a safe, non-judgemental space and find the solutions which can help them.”