Welcome boost as Norfolk mental health support line becomes free

Omnia centre, part of "Mind" The Mental Health Charity based on Sale Road, Norwich - Manager, Sandra

Omnia centre, part of "Mind" The Mental Health Charity based on Sale Road, Norwich - Manager, Sandra FlanaganPicture: James BassCopy: Tara GreavesFor: EDP NEWSEDP Pics ©2003 Tel: (01603) 772434 - Credit: Eastern Daily Press ©2003

A Norwich charity has pledged to do all it can to help those struggling with mental health problems after making a recently at risk helpline free of charge to all users.

Earlier this year, we told how the helpline, run by Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind, was at risk after Norfolk's clinical commissioning groups discontinued its funding.

However, the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT) stepped in to provide funding for the service to continue until March 2016, but only for people in north Norfolk, Norwich, south Norfolk and west Norfolk and at a cost to the user.

Now, Norwich Mind has announced a new number, 08088 020288, which will be free of charge and available to provide support and practical advice to eligible clients when they feel they are not coping well with life, are highly anxious or are at risk of going into crisis.

A spokesman for the charity said: 'This number ticks all the boxes for such a lifeline and integral service for so many users that are struggling in our city and county.'

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The service is available to anyone over 18 who has received secondary support from the NSFT for up to 12 months after discharge, as well as carers.

It is available on Monday to Thursday from 2pm to midnight and Friday from 2pm until Sunday at midnight.

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We have launched our new Mental Health Watch campaign, aimed at improving services, raising awareness and reducing the stigma. Dozens of people have so far backed the campaign by signing the pledge below or on our website.

Backing the campaign, Sandra Flanagan, deputy chief executive officer at Norwich Mind, said: 'We are delighted that the EDP and Norwich Evening News have launched this mental health campaign in our area.

'Any campaign that concentrates on improving services and raises the profile of mental health is always welcomed and we look forward to working in partnership over the coming weeks. Here at Norwich Mind we feel it is important to focus on being pro-active and constructive to the issues raised surrounding mental health in the Norfolk area.'

For more about the charity log on to www.norwichmind.org.uk

Do you have a story about mental health? Contact David Powles at david.powles@archant.co.uk

Meeting hears of mental health concerns

Patients, carers, professionals and members of the public met at the University of East Anglia to share their experiences at the second anniversary meeting of the Campaign to Save Mental Services in Norfolk and Suffolk.

The guest speaker, author and Guardian journalist Owen Jones, was invited because of a moving article he wrote when the train he was travelling on from Norwich to London was delayed by a suicide on the line.

He spoke at Monday night's meeting about how the largest killer of men under the age of 50 was suicide and urged men who have attempted suicide to talk about their feelings and experiences.

During a discussion chaired by former Norwich MP, Dr Ian Gibson, the meeting heard from those who felt they had been badly let down by mental health services and how difficult it was to see a psychiatrist and receive help. A woman from Norwich described how she felt 'useless' and 'abandoned' and that a little bit of help would have benefits, not just for her, but the economy too. A teacher from Dereham spoke about an audit of the mental health needs at his school with more than 100 children needing support that simply is not available and his desire to build a group to address this.

Emma Corlett, a mental health nurse and Unison representative, said: 'This is not only about budgets and numbers but also basic human decency and human beings.'

The next meeting of the campaign group takes place at the Vauxhall Centre, Norwich at 6.30pm on Tuesday, November 10. All are welcome.

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