Mental health out-of-hours helpline TRUST line received 6,050 calls from October to December 2012; double the amount it took from July-September, according to operator Mid Essex Mind.
TRUST line is an NHS service launched in May 2012, where staff trained in listening analysis provide immediate responsive advice to those trying to access mental health services out-of-hours. They also have immediate access to NHS staff.
Paul Keedwell, North Essex Partnership’s director of operations and nursing, said: "We created this pilot service for people who use NHS mental health services. Sometimes they feel a crisis coming on so call for help. TRUST line works out what the person needs. In most cases this is someone to listen, to provide reassurance and advice.
"Just under a fifth of these calls needed immediate NHS help, which was arranged. It also means NHS night staff can concentrate on the urgent cases at A&E or people in distress the police may bring to our hospitals. The service attracts a lot of compliments. There is a clear need for this kind of service."
Of the calls received in the last quarter, 3,766 were evening calls (7pm-12am) and 2,284 were night calls (12am-8am).
The answering staff were able to immediately resolve problems for more than half of all callers, with 1,153 passed through to the Trust’s Crisis Resolution Service. Most calls were from patients or family members but 147 came from GPs.
Barbara Perkins, TRUST Line’s manager, said, "We are very pleased to help more and more people. People expect high standards, especially to support those in distress or feeling isolated. TRUST Line staff give people who may be struggling, time, understanding and empathy; and this calming approach will often avert a crisis.""