Health leaders have set up a 24/7 support helpline which is open to people aged 18 and over living in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire, who would benefit from immediate support for emotional or practical issues.
The 24/7 Support & Connect Helpline was launched to provide extra support during the challenges of the Covid-19 outbreak and beyond. It is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and calls are handled by fully-trained counsellors.
The counsellors are able to provide instant advice and support for people who would like to discuss a problem or are in distress. They can also signpost to a wide range of services where callers can receive ongoing support for the problems they are experiencing. The counsellors have access to a database of more than 300 local and national organisations which can help with a range of issues including debt help, loneliness, relationships and other common life worries.
The confidential helpline is funded by Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (BNSSG CCG), in partnership with Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust (AWP) and run by Vita Health Group.
Dr Umber Malik, clinical lead for mental health at BNSSG CCG said: “It is very understandable that due to the pandemic and the extra pressures that it has bought, many people are feeling unsettled from recent life changes or uncertain about the future.
“The helpline is there for anyone who may be struggling, whether they have concerns over employment as the furlough scheme comes to an end, finances, health worries or issues with family or bereavement. It’s here to provide people with a first port of call for any issues that may be concerning so that they can be given some immediate help as well as advice on where to get further help.”
Tom Renhard, CEO of the Independent Mental Health Network, added: "I am proud to say that people with lived experience of mental health problems have been closely involved in the development of the 24/7 Support and Connect Helpline. This sees additional funding being made available to support people and communities that may need access to a vital resource at what remains an unsettling time for many. We welcome the launch of the new helpline and will continue to work closely with the providers to ensure its success."
Whilst the line was set up in response to the Covid-19 outbreak, it is planned to be a continued part of the support system and remain available to those living within BNSSG, who may wish to call about other concerns in the future.
All calls are confidential and callers will only need to provide limited personal details.
Access the 24/7 Support & Connect Helpline by calling 0800 0126549 or visit the website for further information: