Residents from across Lancaster, Morecambe and South Cumbria who need to access mental health help and support are now able to via one number, 24 hours a day, from today.

The Trust has launched a new service that can be accessed through a new freephone number – 0800 013 0710 – so that everyone will be able to easily access urgent or general mental health support, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The team may arrange for you to receive support over the phone or for a mental health practitioner to see you at home, at a GP practice or another mutually agreed place to allow further information about current mental health needs. Information about other services that could assist will also be shared, if appropriate.

This new approach will help improve access to mental health services – particularly during evenings and weekends – across Lancaster, Morecambe and South Cumbria where there are over half a million residents, and is part of a wider programme of work across the health system, to transform access to mental health services for local people and their carers who have a mental health need or are experiencing a mental health crisis.

Chris Oliver, Chief Executive said:

“This is a major improvement for the residents of Lancaster, Morecambe and South Cumbria who need to access help and support from our mental health services.

This new freephone number means people will be able to access practical advice and emotional support from qualified mental health practitioners and where appropriate, access to the right services in a more timely way.”

The Trust has worked with GPs and representatives from the voluntary sector, as well as other key stakeholders across the health system to develop this approach to make sure it meets the needs of patients and service users.

Chris continued:

“This approach will mean we are better able to meet the varied needs of anyone trying to access mental health support. Whether it be an immediate response, routine appointment booking or even advice on how to access additional information, people will be able to call one phone number and receive the support they need.”

The new approach to accessing mental health services is managed within a call centre setting, based at East Barn, Lancaster and is made up of a team of call handlers and mental health practitioners who take calls and manage referrals from patients, service users, families, carer’s and professionals, aiming to ensure callers are connected to the right professional in a timely manner. There are two satellite bases – one at Kendal (Westmorland Hospital) and one at Barrow in Furness which have mental health practitioners based out of.