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Mental health helpline goes live

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) has set up a 24/7 helpline offering immediate support for mental health difficulties during the coronavirus pandemic.

The freephone number, which is staffed by mental health professionals from the Trust, will provide reassurance, self-help advice, support and signposting designed to prevent people from going to the region’s emergency departments (EDs) during the crisis.

It is available to members of the public of any age, regardless of whether they are an existing NSFT service user. The line is also open to other healthcare professionals, such as ambulance staff and GPs, as well as social care colleagues and police personnel who may need advice when working with individuals who are undergoing mental health difficulties or may wish to refer someone.

The helpline is available on 0808 1963494. Callers will hear a recorded message instructing them to press either 1 or 2, depending on whether they are a professional or member of the public, and will then be connected to a mental health practitioner.

Stuart Richardson, Chief Operating Officer with NSFT, said: “This is an unprecedented time for all of us, which is inevitably causing people anxiety and putting them under additional strain. That is why it is so important to offer as much support as we can.

“This phoneline is designed to keep people safe in their homes by providing them with immediate mental health support. We hope that this will be particularly helpful during this period of uncertainty, when access to secondary mental health services is unfortunately more limited.

“As well as providing a vital service to members of the public, we hope the helpline will also be a useful resource for our health and social care colleagues, as well as our partners in the police, by offering guidance and advice when they are working with people experiencing mental ill health.”

The phone line is open to anyone in Norfolk and Suffolk. Please remember to turn off your caller ID in your phone’s settings if you would prefer that the person answering your call doesn’t see your telephone number.