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Community and mental health services for Southampton, Portsmouth and parts of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.


Mental Health Awareness Week - Dave's Story

It’s Mental Health Awareness week, which has fallen during a difficult time, and for some, will mean more now than ever before. To honour this week of recognition, we are hearing from the inspirational Mental Health professionals from around our Trust, who tell us about their roles and the difference they make to our communities.

Today we hear from Dave Burniston, a Psychotherapist at our Talking Change Mental Health service in Portsmouth. Dave shares his love of psychology and why it can have such a positive and almost instant impact on some peoples lives.  

“I’ve had an interest in science since a very young age and my attention turned towards psychotherapy while studying. I realised that questions about how we suffer, how we overcome challenges, how we generate new ideas, how we care for one another and ourselves and how we make changes all lead back to the same place - that mysterious and powerful thing between our ears.

“Hundreds of years of research has lifted the lid on the inner workings of our minds, and we know more today than we ever have. Perhaps the most fascinating thing about our minds is how they can be flexible and adapt.

“My job at Talking Change is to bring the skills and understanding of modern psychology to our clients, so that we can work together to understand a little more about how our minds work and find a path towards the changes they want. Every day teaches me something new, but what I enjoy the most is getting to see the real difference the service can make to people’s lives on a daily basis. We get to see people’s lives change and watch them gain freedom right in front of our eyes and this is an absolute privilege.

“My role in these current circumstances is more or less the same as it had been beforehand- only with a few more surprise visits from curious dogs during webcam sessions! Many of my clients are understandably concerned about Covid-19, but what’s more striking for me is how this adversity has brought out the best in people. I have seen more people choosing to help and bring hope to others over the last eight weeks than at any other time in my life - people really are awesome. 

“One of my fondest memories as a therapist was at the early stages of my career while working with an individual who had been severely depressed and suicidal throughout his adult life. Having lived with physical illness and depression for more than 40 years, he had little optimism about his chances of having a fulfilling life. Over the course of just six sessions, we were able to not only understand the nature of the problem, but also use our evidence-based treatment methods to forge a path towards recovery. I saw him change right in front of me and he later described our therapy as “the most important thing he’s ever done.” He has now trained to become a therapist himself which is just incredible.

Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

Please visit our services page for specific services and contact details. Alternatively, contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service by emailing or calling the number below. You can also give us feedback, make a complaint or share a compliment.

0800 013 2319

*Lines are open Monday to Friday 10am – 4pm.

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The Act sets out exemptions to that right and places certain obligations on public authorities.


Phone: 0300 123 3919

*Subject to any exemptions which apply, we are obliged to provide the information requested please note that requests for Personal Information is not covered under this Act and should be applied for through the Data Protection Act 1998.

Our administrative and managerial centre is based in Southampton.

While our services can be found around various NHS locations in Southampton and Portsmouth (and surrounding districts), our administrative and managerial centre is based in Southampton at:

Highpoint Venue
Bursledon Road
SO19 8BR

If you require a printable version of how to find us including bus times, car access and bike info please download our leaflet. (Copyright of Highpoint Venue).

Central office phone: 0300 123 3390

*Lines open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.

If you are a journalist with a media enquiry, please contact the Communications Team at:

0300 123 4156 or 02381 031076

The Communications Office is open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.