Posted: Tue 20th Jun 2023

NHS ‘111 press 2’ a big step forward for access to urgent mental health support

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, Jun 20th, 2023

A new national phone line has been officially launched in Wales for those needing urgent mental health assistance.

The ‘111 press option 2’ service is accessible, round-the-clock and is open to all age groups.

This hotline serves those with urgent mental health concerns for themselves or someone they know.

It offers access to a mental health professional, eliminating the need for a GP referral.

The service aims to provide a critical alternative to visiting emergency departments or calling the police, assisting people in managing mental health crises.

The service, accessible via the ‘option 2’ selection on the NHS 111 line, directs callers to a dedicated mental health team member in their local health board area.

It includes a needs assessment and telephone-based intervention to alleviate distress.

The service can refer callers to mental health services, provide self-care advice, or direct them to other support where necessary.

“Implementation of the ‘111 press 2’ service across Wales will transform the way the NHS responds to urgent mental health issues,” said Lynne Neagle, Deputy Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing.

“It can be accessed by anyone, at any time and from any part of Wales.” She added.

Since its initial roll-out in November of last year, the service has received over 15,000 calls. Most callers have had their issues resolved through advice on self-management or by referral to local third sector groups, with a minority referred to urgent mental health care services.

The Welsh Government, committing £6m to support the health boards implementing this service, aims to improve access to mental health services. This hotline is part of a wider package including self-referral to online Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

Dr Chris O’Connor of Aneurin Bevan University Health Board emphasised the value of the service, urging those needing urgent assistance for mental health issues, or those concerned about others, to use the hotline.

Following the national roll out of NHS 111 Wales in May 2022, a national campaign was launched to boost awareness and trust in the service.

Shane Mills, a Clinical Director of the NHS National Commissioning Unit and the national lead for the ‘111 press 2’ service, highlighted the compassionate support callers would receive, tailored to their local needs.

Pete Brown, Head of Service for NHS 111 Wales at the Welsh Ambulance Service, added that calling 111 and pressing option two would simplify access to dedicated mental health team members in local areas.

This new service marks a significant stride in improving mental health support accessibility across Wales, aiming to ensure citizens can manage their crisis before it escalates and requires emergency intervention.

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