New mental wellbeing service for Gloucestershire

At its meeting on 21 September, cabinet considered proposals to enhance the mental wellbeing support available for adults in the county.  

In 2020, the council launched new temporary mental wellbeing services to provide extra support during the height of the Coronavirus pandemic; and new funding has since been secured to continue the support on a longer-term basis.

Since 2010, the county council has funded a separate Self Harm Helpline which provides open access, anonymous support by phone, webchat, or text for anyone seeking support around self-harm.

The contract for the self-harm helpline is coming to an end in March 2023, so a consultation was carried out earlier this summer to find out what Gloucestershire thought about combining the standalone support for self-harm into an expanded new mental wellbeing helpline for adults.

An overwhelming majority of the 565 responses supported the proposals for a new service, which would provide anonymous support on a drop-in basis for people experiencing mild-moderate issues with their mental and emotional wellbeing, such as anxiety, stress, or low mood; alongside support for self-harm.

Following cabinet agreement, support will be available over the phone or via text/webchat; and will not require a referral from a professional. Being able to access support from trained advisers early may prevent symptoms from getting worse and help reduce demand on other mental health services in the county. Advisors will also be trained in supporting people with self-harm, and support will also be available for friends and carers.

Cllr Nick Housden, cabinet member for public health and communities, said, “Following our consultation, we found there is a need for people to be able to access support early, when they first notice changes in their emotional wellbeing or start to find things difficult. There was a lot of support for an expanded service and the option of providing help for self-harm alongside wider support for mental wellbeing.

“I want to thank everyone who gave us feedback on this important issue. The need for mental health support has increased in recent years both nationally and locally, so it is vital we get it right to make a positive difference to the mental wellbeing of people in Gloucestershire.”

Information about any service changes will be announced following procurement, so sign up to the county council’s bulletin to get our latest news straight to your email inbox.

Cabinet papers can be found online here.

Everyone experiences ups and downs with their mental health, and anyone could need support for their emotional wellbeing. If you are struggling or feeling low there is support available – go to our website to find information.

Support for self-harm will still be available for under 18s when the contract for the current helpline ends. Children and young people wanting anonymous, ‘drop in’ support for self-harm will be signposted to the TIC+Chat helpline. TIC+ can also provide face to face counselling for young people. Find out more here.

 

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