Norfolk mental health helpline saved from the axe

Picture: Newscast Online

Picture: Newscast Online - Credit: Newscast Online

A Norfolk mental health helpline which has had more than 6,000 calls since January was saved from the axe this morning.

Chief executive of the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT), Michael Scott, said the trust would fund the helpline until end of this financial year.

Mr Scott said: 'The helpline is a great benefit to our service users.

'We have discussed it as a team and we have decided we will support it until the end of the financial year.'

He said the trust could embed the line into their service at very little net cost.

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Chairman Gary Page said: 'We have heard the message loud and clear from service users and I'm pleased the trust has stepped in.'

Norfolk's clinical commissioning groups (CCG) said previously they were unable to commit sufficient funds for it to continue which meant it was due to close at the end of July.

The helpline, a six-month pilot programme launched in January, was run by Norwich & Central Norfolk Mind.

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It provides 24-hour advice and support seven days per week to patients from Norfolk and Waveney who are treated by the NSFT.

Ninety per cent of callers to NSFT's crisis team are from people who know they need support but are not in crisis – so many can be helped before their issues become too serious.

Amanda Hedley, Chief Executive at Norwich & Central Norfolk Mind, said: 'This is really, really great news for Mind, the trust and above all those who have found the helpline to be an invaluable lifeline. Now its future has been secured for another year, Mind will be looking at ways to raise additional funds to further enhance the helpline.'

The line will cater for people in north Norfolk, Norwich, and south Norfolk. There's a reduced line being launched in West Norfolk by their CCG and Great Yarmouth and Waveney CCG are looking at their own system.

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