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Mental health trust pledges to continue funding for Mind helpline

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) has stepped in to ensure that a helpline designed to help prevent mental health crises for adults in Central Norfolk will continue.

The support line, run by Norwich & Central Norfolk Mind, was facing closure at the end of July after time-limited funding from Norfolk's Clinical Commissioning Groups ended.

However, NSFT has pledged to fund the helpline for the rest of this financial year after it received more than 6,000 calls from trust service users since it was launched in January.

The helpline offers support to existing NSFT service users over the age of 18 or those who were discharged up to 12 months ago to avoid a mental health crisis occurring or escalating. Ninety per cent of callers to NSFT's crisis team are from people who know they need support but are not in crisis – so many can be helped before their issues become too serious.

Michael Scott, Chief Executive at NSFT, said: "The helpline has been a great benefit to our service users and we know that local feeling ran very high when it looked like it may close.

"We have decided to continue funding the helpline for the rest of the financial year as it will be almost cost neutral to our trust and will help reduce some of the pressures on our Central Norfolk services. After that we cannot guarantee continued funding at this stage but it gives us all time to consider the future of the helpline collectively.

Amanda Hedley, Chief Executive at Norwich & Central Norfolk Mind, said: "This is really, really great news for Mind, the trust and above all those who have found the helpline to be an invaluable lifeline. Now its future has been secured for another year, Mind will be looking at ways to raise additional funds to further enhance the helpline."