New telephone service offers around-the-clock urgent mental health support across north of Wales
Urgent mental health support is now available around the clock in in the north of Wales through an extension of the NHS 111 service.
Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board’s NHS 111 Press 2 service was launched in January, initially providing support between the hours of 08:30 and 23:00.
Following an intensive recruitment and training campaign, it is now available on a 24/7 basis, ensuring more people across the region can access advice and support when they need it.
The health board is encouraging those with urgent mental health needs to call 111 and select option 2, where they will be put through to a dedicated wellbeing practitioner.
The number is free to call from a landline or mobile, even when the caller has no credit left, and since launching has handled more than 800 calls.
Dr Anita Pierce, Consultant Psychiatrist and Deputy Medical Director for Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board’s Mental Health and Learning Disabilities Division, said: “Some of those supported via the NHS 111 Press 2 service are people who would otherwise have ended up attending our Emergency Departments.
“Others may have seen their mental health worsen significantly because they did not know where to turn, or they were unable to access support.
“Those who have contacted the service have reported significant improvements in their wellbeing, while early data suggests that it is reducing demand on our Welsh Ambulance Service and GP colleagues.
“We are very pleased with how efficiently this much-needed new service has been operationalised in such as short space of time. Despite the high numbers of vacancies within the NHS, we are really pleased with how successful the recruitment campaign has been, which has enabled us to move to a 24/7 service earlier than originally anticipated, ensuring that more people have timely access to the most appropriate support.
“This fits with our wider strategic vision of providing mental health services which are patient centred, responsive, and accessible.”
The Welsh Government has provided £6m to help build the service which is expected to be rolled out across the rest of Wales by the end of April.
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