Mental health call centre ups opening hours as demand soars

The latest mental health stats have been revealed showing sharp increases of the number of distress calls.

NHS mental health call centre in Glasgow opens 24/7 as stats show demand has soared for service iStock

An NHS mental health hub call service based in Glasgow has upped its opening hours to 24/7 as demand for services grow.

The number of distress phone calls made to NHS mental health services since 2019 have soared across Scotland as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Figures obtained from NHS Scotland reveal that between 2019 and 2020 the average number of calls made to Breathing Space, a free confidential phone line for anyone in Scotland over the age of 16, was 9,400 and had risen to 11,000 between 2021 and 2022. 

The number of calls made to the mental health hub rose from 2,000 to 8,500 and the number of NHS Inform page views, a self-help resource for common mental health conditions, increased from 123,000 to 200,000 during the same time period. 

In 2019 the mental health hub was a pilot service open four nights a week.

Since the summer of 2020 the service has been offered on a 24/7 basis. 

NHS Scotland says it has seen a sustained increase in calls to their helplines since the beginning of the pandemic. 

During the lockdown they recruited more advisers and supervisors to the Breathing Space service and expanded the Mental Health Hub to a 24-hour service operating from Glasgow and Dundee to serve the whole of Scotland.

Director of service delivery at NHS 24, Janice Houston, said: “Our priority is offering a compassionate service to everyone that contacts us about their mental health. 

“We offer a choice of online and telephone services to people needing support through what continue to be challenging times.

“For anyone who is concerned for themselves or anyone else, we encourage you to explore our resources on NHS Inform and find someone who can listen – whether that is a GP, friend, colleague, family member, or one of the specialist helplines available.”

NHS 24 offers a range of services to support people with mental health concerns including those in acute distress. NHS 24 mental health services are available to everyone in Scotland. 

Services offered include listening, offering advice, and guidance to further help if required.

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