Top 5 tips for coping during the festive season

Christmas can be a wonderful time of year but it can also be one of the most stressful. If you are affected by a mental health problem then the run up to Christmas can be a lonely experience…  just remember you’re not alone.

1. Plan ahead

If you’re worried about being alone, find out what is going on in your area. Here are some details of local services but do also check local newspapers and the internet to find out what community events are going on. Also see whether there is a good day or time to visit relatives.

If you are worried about having too much to do over Christmas, think ahead about which events you want to go to and which you will be able to make your apologies for.

2. Don’t be afraid to talk

You may be feeling sad and tired but you probably still look the same to those around you. Unless you tell people how you are feeling they won’t understand what is wrong. Those close to you will want to help.

If you don’t feel you have anyone to talk to, find out about your nearest self-help group and think about calling a helpline number. The symptoms of mental illness can make you want to hide away but talking to others can really help.

3. Watch what you drink

Drinking and eating is all part of Christmas. Whilst one or two drinks may help you relax and cheer you up, too much alcohol may make your symptoms worse and/or stop medication working properly.

4. Don’t let pressure build up

Christmas can be a stressful time when you are under pressure to spend money, clear the desk at work and engage in the usual round of parties. Accept that you can’t do everything. Saying ‘no’ might be hard but most of us feel similar pressures and will understand. Ask for help if you need it – it will keep you healthy.

If you feel you have reached crisis point then you can visit your local A&E. You may also wish to contact one of the helpline numbers that we’ve listed here.

5. Avoid the New Year resolution trap

The end of the year can be a time of regret and a time for making promises that you may not keep. Don’t fall into the trap! Really look at the previous year and write down all the positive things that have happened and all of your successes.

And finally, remember that SMART will be open throughout the festive period and everyone is welcome.

SMART opening times can be found here.
Details of local services can be found here.

We hope you all have a wonderful, happy and healthy Christmas.


Healthy Kickers are back

The Healthy Kickers sessions will be starting again on Thursdays. After a short hiatus.

The sessions run every Thursday from 1:30pm – 3pm at the Westway Sports Centre, 1 Crowthorne Rd, London W10 6RP. Tube: The nearest tube is Latimer Road (Hammersmith & City line). Bus: The 295 and 316 stops on Bramley Road and the 7 stops on nearby Cambridge Gardens.

For more details about the Healthy Kickers, click here.

Local Services open over Christmas 2013

We’ve put together a list of local services that are open over Christmas. We’ve started with ourselves and our opening times!


Address: The Basement, 15, Gertrude Street, London, SW10 0JN
Tel: 020 7376 4668

Services: Promotes mental health through purposeful activities. SMART offers work, training and social opportunities to people with mental illness. The public café offers drop-in services every day.

Open on Christmas Day from 10am – 4pm for a free drop-in (open to everyone) and for Christmas Day dinner at 1pm for those who reserve a place. Please note: We have now sold out of Christmas Lunch places.


Tuesday 24th December
Wednesday 25th December
Thursday 26th December
Friday 27th December
Saturday 28th December
Sunday 29th December
Monday 30th December
Tuesday 31st December
Wednesday 1st January
Thursday 2nd January


10am – 4pm
10am – 4pm
10am – 4pm
10am – 4pm
10am – 4pm
10am – 4pm
10am – 4pm
10am – 4pm


6pm – 9pm
6pm – 9pm
6pm – 9pm

Earl’s Court Community Project

Address: Saint Barnabas Church, 23 Addison Road, London W14 8LH
Tel: 020 7471 7030

Services: Centre will be running Christmas activities and provide free Christmas lunch on Christmas Day.

Open on 23rd (15:00-18.30), 24th (16:00-19:00) and 25th December (15:00-19:00). Closed from 26th December till 14th January 2013.

St. Cuthbert’s Earl’s Court

Address: 50 Philbeach Gardens, London SW5 9EB
020 7835 1389

Closed on Christmas Eve. Open Christmas Day 12-30-15.30. Free lunch served at 13:00. Open to everybody.

Closed on 26th and 31st December and 1st January 2013. Open on 27th& 28th December 2012 and 2nd January 2013 (10.30-15.30).

South Community Recovery Team

Address: Chelsea Chambers 262A Fulham Road, LONDON, SW10 9EL
Tel: 020 7349 6500

Services: Provides services to people with mental health problems in the community.

Closed on 25th -26th December 2012 and 1st Jan 2013.

Other Useful Contact Numbers

BEAT – Information for people affected by eating disorders

Tel: 0845 634 1414.
Offering a helpline service. Also offer support groups, postal and email contacts.
Open Monday-Friday 10:30 – 20:30, Saturday 13:00 – 16:30

MDF – Helpline for people with Bipolar disorder

Tel: 0845 634 0540
Also offer membership, legal advice, self-help groups, publications and travel insurance.
Open Monday – Friday, 10:00 – 17:00

MIND infoline

Tel: 0845 766 0163
Information service for users of mental health services, carers, professionals and the public. Also offer factsheets and publications
Open Monday – Friday 09:15 – 17:15

No Panic – Helpline for people experiencing anxiety disorders

Tel: 0808 808 0545
Also run self-help groups and provide a range of support and information to those affected, families and carers
Open Monday- Sunday 10:00 – 22:00

Samaritans – Helpline offering emotional support

Tel: 0845 790 9090
Offering support to people experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including those which could lead to suicide.
Open every day, all day.

SANELINE – National out-of-hours mental health helpline

Tel: 0845 767 8000
Providing information and emotional support to anyone affected by mental health issues.
Open Monday – Sunday 13:00 – 23:00

Shelter – Free housing advice line

Tel: 0808 800 4444
Providing information and advice for people who are homeless or with a housing problem.
Open Monday – Sunday 08:00 – 00:00

MDF self help group

As 2nd January 2012 is a Bank Holiday, the MDF (manic depression fellowship) self-help group will meet next on Monday, 9th January at 6.15pm.

The group is held in a meeting room here at SMART.

SMART and Skills for Care

Kinga Kwiecinska, our bridge building manager here at SMART has recently been featured in a case study published by skills for care; The body that ensures that England’s adult social care workforce has the appropriately skilled people in the right places working to deliver high quality social care. You can read the case study by following this link…

Healthy Kickers

SMART and London Cyrenians Housing are re-launching their healthy living initiative- The Healthy Kickers Community Football Group on 23rd November 2011 following very successful pilot run for the past 4 months. Both SMART & LCH have a long standing history of providing support services to vulnerable people across London, and in Kensington & Chelsea in particular. In addition, this project supports Cllr. Julie Mills‚ (RBKC Mayor) launch of The Kensington and Chelsea Foundation, which will draw on existing charities and expertise to tackle isolation via activity, inclusion and opportunity.

The Healthy Kickers meet every Wednesday (12-2pm) at the Westway Sports Centre and benefit from professional training by Queens Park Rangers’ coaches. Support Staff is also always be on hand to provide motivation and additional advice, to ensure participants develop the confidence to engage fully with the sessions. The sessions will cover basic fitness, graduated levels of football training and 5-7 a side matches.

We will adapt all sessions to meet the fitness & support needs of all who attend, so please encourage all service users to try, or even start by watching sessions to build their confidence. For those with more developed skills, the professional coaches will be able to challenge and improve them appropriately, within the group. find out more by clicking here

The SMART Summer Ball 2011

August the 25th was the date for the third annual Summer Ball thrown by SMART. Our cafe and packing room were decked out in the theme of hollywood awards for this one special night! The Ball is a chance for everyone to get together to celebrate all the achievements of members over the year. People had made great progress in all projects, achieving qualifications in IT and catering, gaining access to voluntary activities in the Borough and completing ESOL and Gardening courses. Dancing carried on until late with some excellent disco dancing to the likes of Elvis and the Bee Gees!. Cake with Icing