Residents across Portsmouth are able to access a free phoneline to get the most appropriate mental health support they need before they reach a crisis point.
The creation of the phoneline comes directly from feedback gathered during events run by Health and Care Portsmouth – a partnership of six healthcare organisations in the city – with local voluntary groups and people with lived experience of mental health throughout last year.
Feedback from the workshops suggested a desire to develop an ‘access hub’ for mental health, to provide a clear point of contact for meaningful support and advice.
Jo York, Managing Director for Portsmouth in the NHS Hampshire and Isle of Wight Integrated Care Board (ICB), said: “In the workshops, people told us that the number of routes to access support was confusing, daunting and unclear, and felt they were being sent from one service to another without getting the help or information they felt they needed. We are determined to change that.”
The phoneline which is now live is available to individuals aged 16 and over and carers, who can call 0300 123 6621 from Monday to Friday, between 8am and 6pm. Fully trained call handlers will, in a kind and compassionate way, either arrange an appointment with services such as Talking Change or PositiveMinds, or offer support to connect with local organisations including HIVE Portsmouth, social support or substance misuse. Callers do not need to go through their GP before using the phoneline.
Jo added: “We believe that the phoneline will help transform access to mental health support and advice across the city and we are excited to be working collaboratively with those involved to make this ambition a long-term reality for the benefit of not just the person with mental health needs, but their wider circle of family and friends too.”
The work to launch the phoneline forms part of Improving Mental Health in Portsmouth, the name of the national community mental health framework (CMHF) transformation programme locally, aimed at making access to community mental health service better.
Beyond the phoneline aspect, it is intended that the service will be developed into a website and a mobile app where people can access support virtually, and become known overall as The Portsmouth Mental Health Hub.
For more information on mental health support in Portsmouth, visit www.mentalhealthinportsmouth.co.uk