Extending Wellbeing Service’s mental health helpline is “long-term solution” to patients

Mental Health. Pictured: An office worker goes onto an online search engine for advice on depression

Mental Health. Pictured: An office worker goes onto an online search engine for advice on depression. Picture: Time to change/Newscast Online - Credit: Time to change/Newscast Online

MPs say progress is being made to help service-users of the Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind Mental Health Helpline, who will be given access to another support line.

Health bosses this week said they would extend the Wellbeing Service Helpline to accommodate callers from the closing helpline, following a campaign by patients and this newspaper.

Yesterday representatives from Norfolk's four Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), Mind, and Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, met Norman Lamb and Chloe Smith, MPs for North Norfolk and Norwich North respectively, to discuss details.

Mr Lamb said he was reassured that bosses had committed to a more 'long-term solution' but added he had stressed the importance of making sure the merged helpline catered for the users of both current helplines.

With available cash tight, one idea is that Mind will train volunteers who can answer calls from less-seriously ill patients, he said.

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The organisations will use data from both existing helplines to determine which hours the extended helpline will operate during.

Ms Smith described the meeting as 'very helpful', and said she would continue talks with each party as part of her constituency work.

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The Wellbeing Service's helpline, which will be upgraded to take callers with more severe illnesses, is also run by Mind.

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