A DEDICATED mental health helpline set up to support people in Herefordshire and Worcestershire going through a mental health crisis has proved invaluable during the pandemic.
The 24/7 mental health helpline supports people experiencing a sudden deterioration of an existing mental health condition or problems for the first time.
The service saw a 68 per cent increase in calls between March 2020 and April this year, handling over 1,000 calls each month.
Provided by Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust, the main provider of mental health services across both counties, the service is manned by a team of dedicated mental health professionals.
They offer advice, support and, if required, an assessment to identify the best support for an individual.
This could include referral to the Crisis Assessment Team or other mental health services such as Herefordshire and Worcestershire Healthy Minds.
The team recognises people may require support in different ways – seeing people in their home and seeing people in person is often beneficial and considered part of the way care is delivered.
If appropriate, patients may also be asked to attend the new purpose built Crisis Assessment Suite for urgent support and treatment.
The Crisis Assessment Suite, opened in Worcester last year, provides a safe space for people in a mental health crisis, ensuring people get the specialist help they need as soon as possible.
Emma Webber, Specialist Mental Health and Learning Disability Services’ associate director, said, “The service has supported a significant reduction in the number of patients attending A&E in a mental health crisis, instead ensuring they can get the specialist mental health support they need.”
She urged anyone in crisis to contact the team or the national services as soon as possible.
“We’re a judgement free service, here to help you get the support you need.”
The service is available 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week for people of all ages, including children and young people.
Anyone needing help and support can call the Herefordshire and Worcestershire Mental Health Urgent Helpline on 0808 196 9127.
Parents can call for their children, and support is available for all ages.
The lines are also open to professionals such as police and paramedics who may have concerns about someone.
If someone’s life is in immediate danger, for example, they have seriously injured themselves or taken an overdose or if people feel they cannot keep the person safe, call 999.