Improved access to services for people who need urgent support with their mental health is now in place across Lancashire and South Cumbria.
Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust (LSCFT), which delivers mental health services across the area, has set up a new 24/7 phoneline and five Mental Health Urgent Assessment Centres. Together the two should simplify the system for receiving support for people who are in crisis.
Chief Executive Caroline Donovan explained: “We really want to make sure that if people need help urgently because they are in crisis with their mental health, that it is very clear where they are able to access it. In the past we have had a range of telephone numbers which were based in services in different areas. Having one line staffed by trained professionals means there is just one number to ring if you need help or know someone who does.
“In addition, our new Mental Health Urgent Assessment Centres are now up and running in five different locations supporting people who need help with their mental health but no physical symptoms and therefore don’t need to attend A&E. This should make getting help easier for everyone. I’d like to thank everyone who has helped set these facilities up so quickly and all teams who are working within them to ensure our communities continue to receive the mental health support and treatment they need.”
The Trust rapidly established five centres as part of its response to Covid-19. Each is supporting people who have a mental health need but no coronavirus symptoms or physical health issues. Service users who do have physical health issues will continue to attend A&E to be seen by appropriate professional colleagues, liaison staff or the acute hospital team. The locations of the facilities are:
- The former ophthalmology unit at Royal Preston Hospital
- A dedicated facility adjacent to the A&E at Blackpool Victoria Hospital
- Albert View in the grounds of The Orchard, Lancaster
- Danegarth at Furness Hospital, South Cumbria
- A dedicated space next to the A&E at Blackburn Hospital
The newly launched telephone support service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, by calling 0800 953 0110. Trained medical professionals are available to answer calls from people needing immediate advice or assistance, for themselves or a friend or family member. Callers can receive a mental health assessment and referral on to appropriate services.
The new response line and urgent care centres will complement support already provided by the Trust through their Mental Health Wellbeing Helpline. Different from the new response line, this existing helpline staffed by volunteers and people with appropriate life experiences, will continue to offer emotional support. People who would like to chat with someone about their mental health or who are feeling lonely, are encouraged to call the helpline on 0800 915 4640 or text ‘Hello’ to 07860 022 846.
Caroline added: “Mental Health Awareness Week is a great opportunity to draw attention to the range of mental health support we provide - from our response line and care centres for those who need urgent assistance, to our helpline for people looking for emotional support and a listening ear.
“We want to remind everyone that if you, or a friend or family member need mental health assistance or support – the NHS is here for you.”
For a list of mental health help available in Lancashire and South Cumbria, visit: healthierlsc.co.uk/MentalHealthSupport