Mental health

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NHS 24/7 mental health helpline rolled out across South West

Rebecca Thorn

BBC News

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An NHS mental health helpline will be available 24/7 for adults and children in the South West.

The service will be run by mental health professionals, who can refer individuals to urgent or routine services in the local area, the NHS said.

The helpline is open to anyone experiencing a mental health crisis, or family and friends who may be concerned about an individual.

Emergency services including the police and paramedics will also be able to use the helpline when dealing with someone who is suffering from ill mental health.

The roll-out, which the NHS say was always part of the "long-term plan", has been brought forward to help people cope during the coronavirus pandemic.

Michael Marsh, Medical Director at NHS England South West said setting the helplines up "in a matter of weeks, rather than years", had been a "monumental effort".

"While this means that helplines will be a work in progress in some places, hard-working mental health teams across the NHS are committed to continuously improving these vital services."

A local helpline can be found by entering a postcode on the NHS website.

Anyone in a serious or life-threatening emergency should still call 999 or go to A&E. "Services are still there for those who need them and you will not be wasting anyone’s time", the NHS said.