Dedicated mental health phone line extends to 24 hour provision
A 24-hour phone line for well-being and mental health support for people living in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire has gone live.
In June 2022, Hywel Dda University Health Board became the first health board in Wales to launch a dedicated mental health advice service, offering support for all age groups through the established 111 call line.
From this week, the phone line will have extended hours, making support accessible day and night.
People will be able to access the service by phoning 111 and selecting option 2 where they will be put through to a mental health practitioner.
This service, which has received £6m funding support from the Welsh Government, forms part of the National Six Goals for Urgent and Emergency Care Programme aimed at “right care in the right place first time” principle.
The health board say the service has been designed by looking at best practice models in Scotland and England as well as engaging with and learning from service users, staff, West Wales Action for Mental Health and the Community Health Council.
The need for a single point of contact was highlighted as part of the health board’s public consultation on Transforming Mental Health Services in 2017.
Andrew Carruthers, Director of Operations for Hywel Dda University Health Board said: “When we began the Transforming Mental Health journey we had a clear ambition to move away from a traditional service model to redesigning services for the benefit of local people.
“The development of a single point of access has remained a priority for the health board and provides a foundation for future mental health services which are patient centred, responsive, and accessible.
“I’m incredibly proud that we are the first health board in Wales to go live with this service. It’s truly been a team effort and I’d like to thank everyone involved.”
Liz Carroll, Director Mental Health & Learning Disabilities, Hywel Dda University Health Board commented: “We really welcome the opportunity to be the first health board in Wales to go live with the Mental Health 111 service.
“We are pleased to say that we have had a really enthusiastic response from our staff and our key stakeholders in the development of this.
“This service will enable our population to access a single point of contact that can be used by those who want to seek information from themselves or loved ones in relation to mental health concerns or queries.
“Importantly those are operating the service will have the ability to assist in directing individuals to those services that best meet their requirements providing timely access.”
Superintendent Ross Evans, Dyfed-Powys Police lead for Mental Health added: “We welcome this new service and acknowledge the work of Hywel Dda UHB, Welsh Government and key stakeholders in achieving this milestone.
“All of our control room staff have received additional mental health training to help us improve how we support members of the public. I’m pleased to see that the new 111 system has been working well so far. We will continue to monitor progress by working closely with health colleagues who are delivering the service.
“Our collective focus continues to be on ensuring swift access to the best and most appropriate services.”
At the official launch Deputy Minister for Mental Health and Well-being, Lynne Neagle, said: “The 111 press 2 for urgent mental health is a significant service transformation to improve access to support and I am delighted that Hywel Dda University Health Board is one of our first health boards to launch the new 24/7 service.
“We have provided £6m to support health boards to implement this service with the aim of 24/7 coverage across Wales next year.”
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