Mental health support line moves to 24/7 service

Published on: 28 July 2020

Derbyshire’s mental support health line, introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic to offer support and guidance to residents of all ages, has moved this week to a 24/7 service.

The service, managed by Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, was launched in April this year and initially operated 9am – midnight. 

The move to a 24-hour service, combined with the change earlier this month from an 0300 number to a Freephone 0800 number, aims to encourage more people to speak up and seek help. 

The improvements to the service mean that people of any age in Derby and Derbyshire will be able to access free advice and support around their mental health at any time of the day or night. The Freephone number to call is 0800 028 0077.

Since its launch in April, the service has dealt with approximately 1,500 calls a month – or about 50 calls a day. About 50% of the calls are assessed through a triage process as needing further intervention or support, which can include a more detailed follow-up call. 

The service, staffed by mental health professionals, supports people who are experiencing the following:

  • Increased distress or anxiety as a result of current events 
  • Reduced contact with other mental health services
  • A need for longer-term help – for example by signposting to IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapy) services.
Positive feedback

The feedback that the Trust has received about the support line to date has been extremely positive, with comments including:

  • “Your mental health support line is incredible. I’ve told all mental health professionals involved with me to recommend this to others. It has positively surprised me so much. Thank you”
  • “I am very impressed with how highly responsive the service is and the expertise of the staff involved”
  • “I was struggling and feeling overwhelmed caring for my wife. I found the helpline helpful. The person who I spoke with was great and really understanding of the problem”
  • “In these strange times I can’t think of any way this service could improve. Thank you for being there.”

In addition, 90% of callers who responded to a survey said they were ‘likely’ or ‘very likely’ to recommend the service to others.

Over time, the support line has seen a fall in calls related to COVID-19 and a rise in calls on other issues. In April, more than 50% of calls were related to COVID-19, with concerns over lockdown and feelings of isolation, but by mid-June, more than 80% of calls were not related to COVID-19. 

Trust Chief Executive Ifti Majid said: “We are delighted that the support line has been such a success and that we have been able to make a difference to patients and the public at this difficult time. We are now building on the move to a Freephone number by running the support line as a 24/7 service so that Derbyshire people are able to access the help our mental health professionals can offer at any time of the day, any day of the week.”

Residents can learn more about the mental health support line by visiting the Trust’s website at www.derbyshirehealthcareft.nhs.uk/support-line.

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