We are proposing the introduction of a new mental health helpline, 555. This would operate 24/7, like 111, to enable immediate support for patients, carers and any associated people needing to talk.
This would be similar to 1737 in New Zealand, which started in June 2017 and is government funded. https://www.1737.org.nz/
The people suffering from Mental Health, their carers and extended support network require a similar helpline run by trained counsellors who can provide::
We want the establishment of a UK national mental health helpline that:
The proposed helpline is not intended as a replacement for the excellent Samaritans line; this goes far further and provides greater support and action through direct integration with the NHS services.
Presently (September 2020) the NHS has the proposal of a mental health line linked to 111 in the future long-term plan. So why do we want a separate helpline for Mental Health?
YES New Zealand have had a dedicated helpline service covering Mental Health and Addictions since June 2017.
1737, an easy to remember number that can be contacted via telephone or text message, They also offer web-chat services.
It is well used with 8.5% (400k) of the population using it in the first year.
1737 meets the needs of anyone who 'wants to talk' to a counsellor.
A relatively inexpensive service. Perhaps $25 to $40 (£12.50 - £20) per counselling interaction.
Reduces the need for expensive, acute unplanned care.
Adam Dunning is a New Zealand journalist and has written an excellent article about a Day in the Life of a Mental Health Helpline. You can read the full article by following this link:
It's just after midday on an Auckland Monday, and Amanda Lee, 23, is in the middle of six simultaneous text conversations. They're all pretty dark in mood.
One person she's swapping messages with is feeling overwhelmed and anxious; another has been rocked by a recent relationship breakup; another is feeling lost in their career; and yet another is struggling to deal with the after-effects of an historic trauma.
The conversations are all running on separate windows on one of Lee's computer monitors, and when one virtual conversation draws to a close it'll be replaced with a new one. According to the readout on her left-hand monitor, five would-be texters are already waiting in the queue.
What Lee is providing is a combination of "brief emotional support" and a one-off counselling session.
There was a man who called earlier this year from a motel room in Taupō. Tearful, and feeling hopeless, he said he felt no one cared about him and that he planned to take his own life by drinking the copious amounts of alcohol he had with him.
"For me," says Tolua, "it was about trying to de-escalate and be with him, and give him the space to talk about what was going on for him. I spent 20 minutes on the phone just building rapport and validating him and letting him talk. After that 20 minutes, I started saying, 'You've done the right thing in terms of reaching out for support; it takes a lot of courage for someone to do that.'"
Because the caller was discussing imminent self-harm, Tolua had quietly invited a colleague to listen in, and the colleague contacted police as Tolua kept talking the man down.