Tuesday, December 29, 2009

NHS stress phone service

The following article is from today's BBC news

NHS stress phone service launched
An NHS helpline to help people struggling with stress has been launched by the government.

The service is available across England, following concerns about the mounting problems people will face in coming months because of the economy.

Trained health advisers will staff the hotline - available on 0300 123 2000 - from 0800 to 2200 each day.

They will offer advice on debt, housing and employment, but can also put people in touch with mental health services.

It is estimated that a quarter of people with mental health problems experience debt, but a third of those do not ask for any help.

Average household debt is now almost £10,000, excluding mortgages, and recent surveys suggest up to half the population is worried about money because of the recession.

“ Job insecurity, redundancy, debt and money problems can all cause feelings of distress and helplessness ”
Jacqui Jedrzejewski, of NHS Direct
Care services minister Phil Hope said: "After the festive season many of us take a long hard look at our finances.

"Tightening our belts and getting out of debt always features high on the list of new year resolutions.

"But debt can have a serious impact on a person's mental wellbeing, causing stress, depression and even suicidal thoughts."

Jacqui Jedrzejewski, the mental health lead at NHS Direct, said the advisers were there to "offer sympathetic, relevant support and advice".

She added: "We know the credit crunch hits people in many different ways and job insecurity, redundancy, debt and money problems can all cause feelings of distress and helplessness."

The launch of the stress service, after a six-month pilot, comes after the government set out a new mental health strategy earlier this month.

The 10-year plan involved a series of measures, including the appointment of mental health co-ordinators to work with Job Centres.

Dedicated advice lines are also to be set up for small businesses to give their staff direct access to occupational health professionals to help them stay in work, while government-backed work placements are to be piloted to help people return to work.

Calls to 03 numbers cost no more than a national rate call to an 01 or 02 number and must count towards any inclusive minutes, according to Ofcom.

These rules apply to calls from any type of line including mobiles, landlines or payphones.


Now the concept has to be applauded but the reality is that MH services in the UK are stretched to the very limit as it is , what's really needed in more FRONT LINE SERVICES which means extra funding streams .

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