Health / coronavirus

24-hour helpline launched to support people in Bristol

By lowie trevena, Friday Sep 4, 2020

A new helpline has been launched to support people in Bristol and beyond with emotional and practical concerns.

The 24/7 Support & Connect Helpline has been launched by Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (BNSSG CCG) in partnership with Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust (AWP). The service is run by Vita Health Group.

The helpline, which is operated by trained counsellors, has been launched to provide people with extra support during the coronavirus pandemic and into the future.

“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,” says Dr Umber Malik, clinical lead for mental health at BNSSG CCG.

“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.”

The counsellors can also access a database of more than 300 local and national organisations which can help with a range of issues, such as loneliness and debt worries.

The coronavirus pandemic has been an unsettling time for many. Photo: James Koch

The 24-hour, seven-days-a-week helpline has been set up in response to the coronavirus pandemic but will be continued post-Covid for use of people in Bristol, Somerset and South Gloucestershire.

“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,” says Tom Renhard, CEO of the Independent Mental Health Network.

“We welcome the launch of the new helpline and will continue to work closely with the providers to ensure its success.”

You can call the confidential helpline at any time on 0800 0126549.

Main photo: Joab Smith

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