Individuals in Wales who are experiencing urgent mental health issues can now access a toll-free NHS hotline.
By dialing NHS 111 and selecting option two, individuals can access the 24/7 mental health service available in Wales.
Ministers are hopeful that the mental health hotline will serve as an alternative for individuals, reducing the need to visit emergency departments or contact the police in such situations.
Since November of last year, the service has been progressively implemented and has already received over 15,000 calls.
When calling the hotline, individuals will be connected to a member of their local mental health team who can provide advice over the phone, refer them to additional services if needed, and offer necessary support.
According to the Welsh government, the £6 million service grants the public direct access to a “mental health professional” without requiring a referral from a GP.
The Welsh government has reported that a majority of calls made to the hotline have been successfully resolved through self-management advice or referrals to the voluntary sector.
The Welsh government stated that a small number of callers were directed to urgent mental health care services by the hotline, which is supported by a team of over 140 staff members across seven health boards.
In cases of immediate life-threatening situations, the public is still advised to contact emergency services at 999.
Lynne Neagle, the Welsh government’s deputy minister for mental health from the Labour party, expressed that the new service has the potential to revolutionize the NHS’s approach to urgent mental health matters. She emphasized that the service is accessible to individuals from all parts of Wales, at any time.
As part of a comprehensive package, she highlighted the inclusion of “self-referral to online cognitive behavioural therapy” alongside the mental health hotline service.
“We recognize that there are instances when individuals require the expertise of a mental health professional to discuss their concerns and receive appropriate support. This can encompass a range of options, including NHS mental health services, primary care, local voluntary services, or self-care advice,” she explained.
Source : bbc.com