The last few years have been difficult for everyone and the Covid 19 pandemic has had an impact on the world around us, not least in the rise in the number of people experiencing mental health problems.
Do you know what services are available to support you and your family?
If you are struggling with anxiety, low mood or depression, you don’t need to suffer in silence; If you are feeling lonely or isolated and you need someone to talk to, you can contact our local talking therapies teams. They offer primary care mental health services which support anyone who has a mental health or wellbeing need.
For some people, though, they may experience more intense mental health problems and find themselves in a mental health crisis.
Having a mental health crisis means different things to different people. You might feel so distressed that you want to harm yourself, or someone else. Or you might hear unpleasant voices or feel that people are watching you or trying to hurt you. When you, or a loved one, are having a mental health crisis it can be an extremely worrying time.
At South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, we are looking at all the different ways that we can support people who are experiencing a mental health crisis, developing new services and enhancing existing ones.
One of the biggest developments in our crisis support services, is the development of thenew 111 press 2 for Mental Health service , which will support patients across south London able to access mental health care by calling the NHS 111 number then pressing two. Patients will then be able to talk to an experienced call handler and if needed with their local mental healthcare provider’s Mental Health Crisis Line (in our case 0800 731 2864).
This new service will see a massive increase in the number of mental health clinicians who will triage, refer you onwards and offer advice and guidance. They will also work collaboratively with partner agencies to support patients who need onward support and will be able to refer directly into secondary care services such as local Crisis Resolution and Home Treatment Teams for those who need an urgent assessment. This will ensure there is an easier, smoother way for patients to get support for their mental health.
Julie Frake-Harris, who is leading the development of the service, said “The implementation of the NHS111 press 2 service represents a significant investment in mental health services across South London. We are currently looking to recruit significant numbers of talented and caring people into a variety of roles in the new team. It is a fantastic opportunity to make a difference to people’s lives and support them during the most difficult times of their lives.”
If you are interested in working with this new service see our vacancies pages.
Future plans include collaborations with a variety of partners including working with national mental health charity Richmond Fellowship to develop two Crisis Recovery Houses which will offer new community-based crisis support for people living in the London Boroughs of Lambeth, Lewisham, Southwark and Croydon. One of the pilots will be a crisis recovery house for young people – the first of its kind. We are also excited to be working closely with our Police colleagues in the CAT, Crisis Assessment team to ensure we are to respond in the most timely manner and avoid our patients needing to go to A&E.
If you need urgent help for your mental health, but it's not an emergency you can call our 24-hours support line on 0800 731 2864 and choose option 1 to speak to our local mental health crisis line. They can connect you to local mental health services, including our crisis support teams and peer support services.
More information on what to do in a crisis including borough specific services are available on our website www.slam.nhs.uk/crisis