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by | Thursday, July 30th, 2020 | News

People across the South West now have access to dedicated 24/7 NHS mental health crisis helplines, to ensure that everyone can get the urgent care they need during the global pandemic.

Although part of the existing NHS Long-term Plan, universal coverage has been brought forward to help people cope with the impact of coronavirus.

Mental health teams across the South West have worked hard to accelerate rollout of the service, including at Livewell Southwest where two dedicated 24/7 lines have been set up to support both children and adults experiencing a mental health crisis.

Anyone experiencing a mental health crisis can now call their local helpline at any time, while friends and family members can call on behalf of someone they’re worried about.

The lines are also open to professionals such as police and paramedics who may come across people experiencing mental ill health.

Anyone can find details of their local helpline through a new, easy-to-use service-finder on the NHS website – just type in your postcode or home town in the same way you would search for a local GP or pharmacist.

The new helplines are led by mental health professionals who can refer people to local urgent, acute and routine mental health services. This may include phone and video consultations, as well as urgent face-to-face assessments where necessary.

Michael Marsh, Medical Director at NHS England South West, said: “To anyone who is struggling with their mental health at this difficult time, our message is clear: the NHS is here for you. All of our mental health services for both adults and children are still available, with many offering more flexible options such as video and phone consultations to improve safety for patients and staff alike. If you need support with your mental health, you can still access existing services or speak to your GP about your needs.

“If you find yourself in crisis, you will now be able to find your local helpline number quickly and easily at to get the help and support that you need. However, if you or someone else is in a serious or life-threatening emergency then you should still call 999 or go to A&E – services are still there for those who need them and you will not be wasting anyone’s time.”

“Getting the helplines up and running in a matter of weeks, rather than years, was a monumental effort. I have been humbled by the work and commitment of colleagues in mental health services all over the country. They have made huge changes in normally impossible timeframes, in the most collective and supportive spirit. While this means that helplines will be a work in progress in some places, hard-working mental health teams across the NHS are committed to continuously improving these vital services.”

Children and young people in Plymouth can contact the crisis support line 24/7 on 01752 435122 and those aged 18 and over in Plymouth experiencing a crisis with their mental health can seek advice and support from the First Response Service 24/7 by calling. 01752 434922


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