Emergency mental health line launched in Wales

A new phone has been launched in Wales for people to use if they have an urgent mental health concern themselves or about someone they know.

The NHS ‘111 press option 2’ for mental health is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for all ages.

Callers should dial NHS 111 and then select option 2. They will then be transferred to a dedicated member of a mental health team in their local health board area.

The call will involve an assessment of needs and telephoned based intervention to reduce distress. If necessary, callers will be referred to mental health services, given self-care advice or signposted to other support.

Since its roll out in November, the service has received more than 15,000 calls.

Last Week the deputy minister for mental health and wellbeing, Lynne Neagle, visited St Cadoc's Hospital in Caerleon to meet the team working on the service for Aneurin Bevan University Health Board. She said: "We are committed to improve mental health and access to mental health services.

"The implementation of the ‘111 press 2’ service across Wales will transform the way the NHS responds to urgent mental health issues - and it can accessed by anyone, at any time and from any part of Wales.

"We know that sometimes people need to speak to a mental health professional so they can talk through their issues and get the right support whether this be NHS Mental health services, primary care, local voluntary services or self-care advice.

"The Welsh Government wants to make access to mental health services easier and this service is part of a wider package that includes self-referral to online Cognitive Behavioural Therapy."

Pete Brown, head of service for NHS 111 Wales at the Welsh Ambulance Service, which hosts the 111 service, said: "It can be hard knowing where to turn for the right healthcare advice, especially when you or your loved one is experiencing a mental health crisis.

"Calling 111 and pressing option two will simplify all of that and connect you straight to a dedicated member of a mental health team in your local area.

"The number is free to call from a landline or mobile, even if you have no credit left.

"Calling 111 for mental health support will hopefully help people to manage their crisis before it escalates and requires emergency intervention."

Image by Jan Vašek from Pixabay