Date published: 19 July 2021
Dedicated 24/7 urgent mental health crisis helplines across Merseyside and the region helped over 3,500 people per month while local communities struggled with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.
Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust, who run crisis helplines across Liverpool, Sefton, Halton, St Helens, Warrington, and Knowsley, have announced they were presented with 51,147 calls since April 2020, when the lockdown restrictions first began.
“We probably don’t know the full mental health impact of the COVID-19 lockdown and all the restrictions that went with it yet, but we do know the crisis helplines have been a big help to people across the region during this period,” said Jimmy Cousineau, Mersey Care’s lead for urgent mental health care.
“We’d originally planned to launch the new crisis helpline in April 2021 but brought it forward because of the pandemic and you can see from the numbers that’s it’s served a crucial role in helping the community get through an incredibly difficult moment in their lives.”
All crisis helplines are staffed by dedicated mental health professionals who listen to the caller’s concerns and plan on how best to help the service user, which may include:
- A mental health assessment
- Signposting the caller to their local psychological therapy service
- Referral to our virtual crisis cafe
- Signposting the caller to a different community service for support such as housing, financial advice or drug or alcohol issues
The success of Mersey Care’s crisis helplines is mirrored nationally with NHS helplines answering around three million calls during the pandemic and the majority of callers either treated on the phone or referred for a face to face assessment. Fewer than two percent have resulted in either an A&E attendance or a blue light response from ambulance or police.