Help over Christmas and New Year

If you need help immediately over Christmas and New Year, here are some local services:

Police, Fire, Ambulance –  for emergencies Tel:   999

Mental Health Assessment Service (MHAS) – Tel:  0131 537 6000

NHS 24 – Tel:  08454 24 24 24

Emergency Social Work Service – Tel:  0800 731 6969

Edinburgh Samaritans – Tel:  0131 221 9999

Castlecliff Hostel – Tel:  0131 225 1643 (provides emergency accommodation)

Housing Options Team – Tel:  0800 032 5968 (out of hours service)

National Scottish Domestic Abuse Helpline – Tel:  0800 027 1234

UK Domestic Abuse Violence Helpline – Tel:  0808 2000 247

Breathing Space:  0800 83 85 87, Mon-Thurs 6pm-2am, Fri 6pm-Mon 6am (emotional support over the phone)



Festive period info

Simpson House Groups 2013

We re-open Monday 7th Jan

SMART starts Tuesday 8th Jan

(check for details of meetings over Christmas.  Jardine will be posting this info)

Choose Life starts Thursday 10th Jan

(check blog over holidays)


Crew festive opening

Diane will be at Crew between Christmas and New Year if you need to chat. First SMART group is on Wednesday 9th Jan


Serenity Cafe Festive Opening

We are providing a safe drink and drug free space on Christmas Day 12-4pm and New Years Day 12-4pm

We will be open to 4pm Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve

Our Hogmanay Spectacular is on as usual – a family friendly celebration – 7pm til after the bells £5 per person £2 per child



Group starts again Monday 14th January at 10-10.45am in the Grassmarket

Group discusses the pros and cons of Social Media

Today was a very good meeting with an emphasis on using social media tools.  While the group wholeheartedly agreed that social media can be a great method for outreach, support and in some cases be life saving, if used the wrong way can have damaging consequences.  The group would like to set up a system on-line where we would have a moderator to check content and if inappropriate offensive content was posted could be dealt with in a way that protects people and creates safe boundaries for all.

All in all a very positive meeting and great hopes for the new year!

Group Goals


  • Setting out the aims
  • Creating online spaces
  • Having Somewhere to meet
  • The idea and what it entails
  • Gathering support for the idea
  • How do we publicise the group
  • More awareness from GP’S re Mental health (Over 40% of cases at surgeries are Mental Health realated)
  • Exploring the impact Benefits changes have
  • Maintaining contact with Andy MacAleevy
  • All services working together to help individual
  • Looking at the issues regarding the many obstacles that many face to be admitted to a Psychiatric Hospital
  • Looking at the lack of supportive environment for people
  • Looking at the resources available
  • Looking at the navigation system for help
  • Looking at more help from Health services
  • Looking at the lack of supportive environment
  • Challenging pre-conceptions
  • Establish safe environment
  • Looking at and sharing inspiration
  • Finding common ground
  • Feeling supported by one another’s experiences
  • Building a good understanding and relationships with one another
  • Establishing an ethos and culture within the group
  • Looking to find a safe place of respite for individuals who require space away.

Group looks at the impact of the Christmas period

Today we looked at how Christmas affected people in the group.  Some of the issues people struggled with were; family issues, how the Winter affected them, bereavement issues, childhood memories, feeling alone, financial issues and lastly having a disruption to their weekly routine (with many places closed). 

Next week we will look at ways that can help make the Christmas period a bit more bearable.

We discussed the impact of using Social Media for Choose Life @ Simpson House and how through networking and support we could have helped someone to use the tools from the group’s experiences to  help keep themselves safe.  

We now have 85  followers on Twitter, the word’s getting around about the group!

Group suggestions for techniques that can help those who suffer from S.A.D.

Things that can help you in dealing with Seasonal Affective Disorder

  • Using a light box
  • Going for a walk/getting some fresh air
  • Making a routine/creating some structure
  • Getting out of bed
  • Looking at your diet
  • Being pro active
  • Being supported/encouraged
  • Watching TV shows/comedy
  • Listening to music
  • Having fairy lights on display
  • Being social
  • Using scented oils
  • Placing half an orange in the room.  The cirtrus scent is awakening and enlivening
  • Being self aware
  • Using herbal remedies
  • Remembering that if you regularly suffer from SAD that by the time spring arrives you know historically things will get better.

Group Welcomes more new people!

We had a really good group yesterday.  One of the topics discussed was the need for more information for GP’s regarding Mental Health and how best to help someone in need.  One of the group’s aims is to explore how we can make this happen.

One of the big thing to come out of today was the feeling of how great it was to have the opportunity to speak in a group setting which in turn helped people deal better with the thoughts of  “No one understands me, I’m the only person to feel like this”

Having the group gave people more hope.

We did more work on Tweeting and networking with the group being very encouraged by the fact that our page now has followers from all over the world!


Welcome to the online home of the Choose Life Project at Simpson House. We started our work in the Summer of 2012, funded by the national chooselife strategy for suicide prevention. We are here to help anyone who has felt suicidal or who would like support in their recovery, and to provide a space for those who want to help others.

Our project has two strands.

The first is focused around our weekly group meetings at Simpson House in Edinburgh. The group first met in September 2012. It is a small friendly group, with a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere creating a safe space to explore and share experiences.

The second strand of our work is focused around exploring and creating safe online spaces to improve outreach and support provision for those at risk of suicide.

We will be using this blog to provide updates on the progress of our project, share the resources we create within the group, raise public awareness, and tackle the stigma of suicide.

We hope you enjoy following us, and might even consider getting involved in our group or the wider work of our project.