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Norwich Mind launches new support line

A new helpline designed to help prevent mental health crises for adults in Norfolk has been launched by Norwich & Central Norfolk Mind.

The new support line is open to existing patients over the age of 18 who are under the care of Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) or those who have been seen by the Trust's services within the last 12 months.

Eligible patients are being given a special number to call 24/7 if they need support or someone to talk to. The new support line is run by dedicated staff from Norwich & Central Norfolk MIND and was formally launched by Care Minister and North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb.

The aim is to help existing service users 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.

The helpline has been commissioned with time-limited funding, by the NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups for Norfolk and Norfolk County Council. The funding was gained from a national bidding opportunity for specific mental health funds.

Part of the reasoning behind the new funding is to meet the Government's focus to improve service for people who are either in crisis or are at risk of being in crisis. The service is being evaluated during this pilot period with the potential that the service will be continued for the longer term.

Amanda Hedley, Chief Executive of Norwich & Central Norfolk MIND said: "We are really pleased to have been commissioned to provide such an important service.

"Our experienced and knowledgeable staff are available through the helpline to provide that extra support and to help to stop people moving into crisis. This helpline is an important development for supporting adult patients here in Norfolk."

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust's Director of Operations for Norfolk, Debbie White said: "We welcome this new initiative from Mind. Our crisis teams do take a lot of calls from service users who aren't in crisis but would benefit from some more support and this helps our staff to focus on those in most urgent need."     
Dr Duncan Edwards, from NHS South Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group, chairs the Norfolk Mental Health and Learning Difficulties Clinical Network. He said: "We are delighted to have commissioned Norwich & Central Norfolk MIND to provide its expertise and staff for the benefit of patients in Norfolk.

"The support line means not only that people can ring for some help and support but it takes a little pressure off NSFT's Crisis teams who need to attend to very urgent clinical cases."