Posted: Fri 24th Mar 2023

Urgent mental health support now available 24/7 in North Wales through NHS 111

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Friday, Mar 24th, 2023

An NHS phone line providing urgent mental health support to people across North Wales is now available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board’s NHS 111 Press 2 service was launched in January, initially providing support between the hours of 08:30 and 23:00.

Thanks to an intensive recruitment and training campaign, it is now available on a 24/7 basis, ensuring more people across the region can access expert advice and support during their hour of need.

The health board is encouraging those with urgent mental health needs to call 111 and select option 2, where they will be put through to a dedicated wellbeing practitioner.

The number is free to call from a landline or mobile, even when the caller has no credit left. In life threatening situations, people should always call 999 or attend their nearest Emergency Department (A&E).

Since launching in January, the health board’s NHS 111 Press 2 team has handled more than 800 calls.

Dr Anita Pierce, Consultant Psychiatrist and Deputy Medical Director for Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board’s Mental Health and Learning Disabilities Division, said:

“Some of those supported via the NHS 111 Press 2 service are people who would otherwise have ended up attending our Emergency Departments. Others may have seen their mental health worsen significantly because they did not know where to turn, or they were unable to access support.

“Those who have contacted the service have reported significant improvements in their wellbeing, while early data suggests that it is reducing demand on our Welsh Ambulance Service and GP colleagues.

“We are very pleased with how efficiently this much-needed new service has been operationalised in such as short space of time. Despite the high numbers of vacancies within the NHS, we are really pleased with how successful the recruitment campaign has been, which has enabled us to move to a 24/7 service earlier than originally anticipated, ensuring that more people have timely access to the most appropriate support.

“This fits with our wider strategic vision of providing mental health services which are patient centred, responsive, and accessible.”

The Deputy Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing, Lynne Neagle, said:

“The 111 press 2 service is a huge step forward in providing easier access to urgent mental health support and I’m delighted to see the service become available 24/7 for people in north Wales.

“The Welsh Government has provided £6m to help build this service which is on track to be available throughout Wales by the end of April.”

Signposting people with urgent care needs to the right place, first time is an ambition of Welsh Government’s Six Goals for Urgent and Emergency Care Programme. In particular, Goal 2 aims to establish a pathway (NHS 111 Press 2) to support people with emotional health, mental illness and /or wellbeing issues to directly access a mental health worker 24/7. It has been designed from looking at best practice models in Scotland and England.

Those with urgent mental health needs are encouraged to dial 111 and select option 2.

For non-urgent advice and support, please contact the CALL Mental Health Helpline for Wales, which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Call freephone 0800 132737, text ‘Help’ to 81066, or visit callhelpline.org.uk.

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