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A 24-hour mental health helpline launched at the beginning of the second national coronavirus lockdown will continue to offer support to residents struggling with their mental health for an additional six months.

The helpline, established by Stoke-on-Trent City Council with Brighter Futures in November 2020, has received a total of 23,244 calls* from people needing support for their mental health, with 555 of these being made by people who said they were feeling suicidal.*

Call handlers from Brighter Futures provide callers with a safe space to talk about issues they are facing. They can then signpost callers to the most appropriate support service. Some of the most common issues people have called the helpline for support with include concerns about their mental health and worries about their physical health, relationship problems, feeling isolated and dealing with bereavement.

Councillor Ally Simcock, cabinet member for adult social care and health care said: “I am thrilled we are able to extend the 24-hour mental health helpline for another six months – it has proven to be a lifeline to people who have sadly been struggling with their mental health. Brighter Futures already had an established mental health helpline in place, and we were able to work together to extend its opening hours so that it was accessible 24-hours a day, seven days a week.

“Since the 24-hour element was launched in November, 4,517 calls have been made during the extended hours, with 160 of these being from people who felt suicidal.** These numbers show the amount of people in our city and across Staffordshire who are sadly facing struggles with their mental health, but I am pleased we are able to offer some comfort and support through the helpline.

“We are hopeful that by being able to offer the 24-hour help for an extended period of time, more people will feel able to reach out for support. It doesn’t matter whether you’re having a bad day or have been struggling with mental health issues for some time, we are here for you, so please do call the helpline if you need to.”

Eunice Burke, Staffordshire Mental Health Helpline Manager Eunice Burke, said: “Whether you’re feeling low and anxious or struggling to cope, please do call the helpline. Speaking out is a difficult step to take, but it’s also one of the most important ones. The friendly team at the helpline will give you a safe space to talk and help you to access support that’s best suited to your needs. Please don’t suffer in silence – we are here for you.”

“The Staffordshire Mental Health Helpline, part of our mental health provision, has provided an immediate point of contact for people in the local area since 2000 – and provides emotional support for people concerned about their mental health or someone they know.

“We’re extremely thankful for our partners at both North Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Group and Stoke-on-Trent City Council. They provide us with the resource, guidance, and support to provide what is a life-saving service.

“People who need to contact us can do so via our freephone number, text, email, or instant messaging through the main Brighter Futures website. We encourage anyone needing that listening ear to give us a ring and offload any concerns they may have.

The 24-hour mental health helpline can be accessed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, via 0808 800 2234.

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