West Berkshire Council

Mental Health and Housing Advice

Support and housing advice for those struggling with their mental health and housing situation

If you are suffering with mental health issues and you are homeless or threatened with homelessness within 56 days the council can provide you with advice and assistance to resolve your housing situation.

What can the service do to support you?

Duty to prevent homelessness: 
The council is committed to supporting applicants who are at risk of losing accommodation within 56 days. This means that we will try to prevent your homelessness by helping you to remain in your current accommodation, if that is possible. Otherwise we will explore with you alternative housing options such as securing accommodation in the private rented sector or supported accommodation.

Duty to take steps to relieve homelessness: We will assist households who are homeless to secure suitable accommodation, regardless of whether they are 'intentionally homeless' or have a priority need. This means that all eligible households will be offered help to secure accommodation.

Will the council provide me with accommodation?

We can provide advice and assistance to enable you to find alternative accommodation. However, we will not have a duty to provide emergency accommodation or temporarily house you unless you are considered to be eligible, homeless and have priority need. Your Homelessness Prevention & Relief Officer will discuss this with you as part of your application process and make necessary enquiries to determine our duties.

For more information on the homelessness criteria, please visit Shelter Homepage or contact Shelter on 080 8800 4444.

You can approach the service to receive further advice and information about your housing situation by contacting the housing operations team on 01635 519 530 and choose option 2. Alternatively, you contact us by e-mail on housing@westberks.gov.uk 

Where else can I get mental health support? 

You can find more information about local support available in the West Berkshire area by visiting:

Mental Health and Wellbeing

Related support

Employment support


Mind have a Building Employment Skills and Training (BEST) service. This is a free service which you can self-refer to if you have a common or severe mental health problem. They aim to support people to build their confidence, self-esteem, improve their communication, life and workplace skills, thereby giving emotional backup as well as practical guidance on all aspects of finding and keeping a job.

Contact their information line on 0300 123 3393 or by e-mail: info@mind.org.uk


Re-employ offers specialist employment support for residents of West Berkshire with mental health conditions, who are ready to return to work for a minimum of eight hours, as well as helping people to prepare for, find and stay in employment.

0300 456 8110



Debt support

National Debt Helpline

The National Debit Helpline provides free and confidential advice about debt. You can access advice and resources through their website National Debt Line or via webchat on the website (Mon to Fri 9am-8pm and Sat 9.30am-1pm). In addition, you can phone the helpline: 080 8808 4000.



Personal Independance Payments (PIP)

PIP is a payment to help with some of the extra costs caused by long term ill-health or disability. The amount you get depends on how your condition affects you, not the condition itself. You'll be assessed by a health professional to work out the level of help you can get.

GOV.UK Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

To claim phone DWP on 080 0917 2222

Emplyoment Support Allowance (ESA)

ESA is a payment that could give you some money if you have an illness or disability that affects your ability to work. Every claim for ESA is assessed and this process usually takes 13 weeks. If you apply for ESA for the first time, you'll get some money straight away if the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) thinks you're likely to be eligible for ESA when you first apply. You'll have to send a sick note from your GP with your claim form to show that you're not fit for work. You must have a Work Capability Assessment while your ESA claim is being assessed. This is to see to what extent your illness or disability affects your ability to work.

Gov.uk - Employment Support Allowance

Please note: Universal Credit has replaced 6 other benefits with a single monthly payment including ESA. Universal Credit is currently been rolled out across the UK and will apply to you if you have a change in circumstances or make a new claim. If you are already claiming benefits, the DWP will inform you when these will change to Universal Credit. However, if you have a change of circumstances you will have to then claim Universal Credit.

For more information about Universal Credit:

Substance misuse

Swanswell West Berkshire

Swanswell provides a Treatment and Recovery Service (TARS). This provides a number of different support services:

  • Assessments
  • Community outreach
  • Harm reduction - needle exchange
  • Information and advice
  • Breaking Free Online
  • Peer mentor programme
  • Family and carer support
  • Access to detox
  • Counselling
  • Access to mutual aid
  • Psychosocial interventions, including MI and CBT therapies
  • Pharmacological interventions - prescribing service
  • Access to education, Training and Employment (ETE) services, including volunteering
  • Thames Valley Police Drug Diversion Scheme
  • Social and physical activities

You can contact them on: 0300 003 7025 or e-mail on: wberksadmin@swanswell.org

For more information, please visit: Swanswell - Homepage


More general support

Citizens Advice Bureau West Berkshire:

The Citizens Advice Bureau will also be able to provide advice about your rights as a tenant. West Berkshire Citizens Advice Bureau Newbury Address is: 2nd Floor, Broadway House, 4-8 The Broadway, Northbrook St, Newbury RG14 1BA.

Visit Citizens Advice West Berkshire for online support and resources. Alternatively, please call the West Berkshire advice line 01635 516605 (if busy, please leave a message).1249 - (very busy, please keep trying) (available 10am-4pm).

Samaritans Helpline (Newbury Branch)

"Whatever you're going through, a Samaritan will face it with you, call us free any time, from any phone on 116 123 or 0330 094 5717"

Samaritans is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If you need a response immediately, it's best to call them on the phone. This number is free to call. West Berkshire Samaritans provides confidential, non-judgmental emotional support, for anyone who has feelings of distress or despair, including those which could lead to suicide.


Voiceability offer advocacy support to young people and adults who need help to become more aware of their own rights, to exercise those rights and be involved in decisions made about their lives.

They work with:

  • Any adult who is subject to safeguarding and known to the local council's safeguarding team
  • Older people (over 65) with physical disabilities
  • Younger people with physical disabilities ( who are going through transition into adult social care) aged 14 to 25
  • Adults with mental health needs
  • Adults with a learning disabilities

Voice Ability

0300 303 1660 (Helpline Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm)

Berkshire Talking Therapies

West Berkshire Talking Therapies is a free, confidential NHS service which provides psychological treatment for depression and anxiety disorders. The service is able to support people who are over the age of 17 and are a resident of Berkshire or registered with a GP in Berkshire.

Individuals can refer themselves to the service by phoning 0300 365 2000. You can also make a self-referral online by e-mailing talkingtherapies@berkshire.nhs.uk

Mental Health Foundation

Provides information and support for anyone with mental health problems or learning disabilities.

Website: MentalHealth.org

National Gambling Helpline

Phone: 0808 8020 133 (daily, 8am to midnight)

Website: Be gamble aware

Victim Support

Phone: 0808 168 9111 (24-hour helpline)

Website: Victim Support


Advice on dealing with domestic violence. Phone: 0808 2000 247 (24-hour helpline)

Website: Refuge


Emotional support, advice and information for people who are socially isolated, vulnerable, at risk or experiencing any form of abuse. Including relationships, child abuse, anger, bullying, eating disorders, self-harm, domestic violence, rape and sexual assault.  Helpline: 01708 765200

Email Support: info@supportline.org.uk