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New mental health telephone support service handles nearly 12,000 calls in its first year

4 April, 20024

A new round-the-clock phone service providing urgent mental health support has handled nearly 12,000 calls in its first year since launching in in North Wales.

The NHS Wales 111 press 2 service launched in January 2023 for people with urgent mental health concerns for themselves or someone they know. It offers quick access to a mental health professional, eliminating the need for a GP referral and is a critical alternative to visiting emergency departments or calling the police.

The dedicated staff delivering the service at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board have handled about 1,000 calls each month on average since the launch.

Becky Baker, Head of Operations and Service Delivery for Mental Health and Learning Disabilities (East), said: “Since launching, this service has provided a great deal of vital support to people, helping them to quickly access the help they need whenever they need it.

“We receive a wide variety of calls from people of all ages who need different levels of care and support and that is what we are here for.

“We may have a caller who is in crisis and may need immediate support for their own safety or someone who is struggling due to social or financial issues, which is impacting on their emotional wellbeing. We support people of all ages so we may have children who contact the service in distress or parents who are concerned regarding their children's mental health.

“Through our triage process we can decide how best to support someone, whether that is through providing immediate support and advice, a referral into mental health services, or direction to alternative support in the third sector, for example.

“This service has already helped a lot of people get the help they need as quickly as possible and we are looking forward to building on this success and helping even more people going forward.” 

After a successful first year in operation, the service has now introduced a new call back function to support people who would ordinarily receive an immediate referral into primary mental health services to ensure they receive the support they need as quickly as possible.

More information about the service, accessible via the ‘option 2’ selection on the NHS 111 Wales helpline, can be found on the BCUHB website here.