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Mental health 'phone line helps 25,000 people in seven months

More than 25,000 callers to a mental health phone line launched seven months ago have received immediate help from Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT).

NSFT, in partnership with clinical commissioning groups, established the 24-hour service to provide immediate support to anyone experiencing mental health difficulties.

Anyone in need can dial 0808 196 3494 and be connected to trained staff at the Trust.

One caller to the helpline commented: “I have been extremely impressed with the service and as someone who finds going into A and E, or other alternative crisis environments, very distressing I have found that the support they can offer over the phone has changed my entire experiences of my crises. 

The staff are always understanding and are always able to spot my distress even though it is not always stereotypically displayed.”

Since April 2020, a total of 12,473 callers to the helpline have received mental health support via telephone or video consultation, face to face assessment, referral to specialist mental health services or signposting to another specialist or voluntary sector service.

Stuart Richardson, chief operating officer at NSFT, said: “It is vital that people in mental health crisis are able to access specialist support without delay. Our first response service enables people to do just that.

“If you or someone you care about is experiencing mental health difficulties, please know you are not alone. We are here for you 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.”

Dr John Hague, mental health lead for NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “This is an invaluable service which is obviously helping a great number of people. It’s so important that we all have the opportunity talk with someone when experiencing adverse mental health issues, and the fact that this ‘phone line operates 24/7 means that opportunity is always available.

“I’m very proud of the work done by the CCGs and NSFT to establish the service, which is part of our ongoing work to support people in keeping mentally well.”

The service does not replace 999. Anyone in mental health crisis who requires serious or life- threatening emergency mental or physical care, should dial 999 immediately.

Phoneline created in partnership with:
NHS Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group
NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group 
NHS West Suffolk CCG

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