Cross Section of a brain

West London boroughs launch NHS 111 hotline expansion for immediate mental health crisis support

In a significant development emergency mental health services have been significantly expanded across the boroughs of Ealing, Hounslow, and Hammersmith & Fulham.

This expansion centres around introducing a new option within the NHS 111 hotline, designed to cater to individuals facing urgent mental health issues.

This initiative puts mental health at the forefront, acknowledging the acute needs of those in distress and providing a vital lifeline.

When dialling NHS 111, individuals in crisis can select option two, which directly connects them to trained mental health professionals.

These professionals offer immediate advice and can facilitate access to appropriate care.

What sets this service apart is not just the 24/7 availability, but also the comprehensive support it offers.

This is a pivotal moment for the communities within these boroughs, as it represents a broader commitment to addressing mental health emergencies with the urgency and seriousness they deserve.

This development could be lifesaving for many as hospitals struggle to deal with the volume of mental health coming through the A&E doors.

Figures obtained by the Royal College of Emergency Medicine showed mental health patients are disproportionately impacted by A&E delays, with one-in-four mental health patients had long waits in 2023, compared to one-in-ten of all other patients.

While prolonged waits for all patients decreased slightly, the proportion of mental health patients waiting 12 hours to be admitted surged to an all-time high of 23%.

“People who come to A&E when experiencing mental health crises or extreme mental ill heath are among the most vulnerable patients we see,” Dr Adrian Boyle, President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, said.

“This data shows so starkly how badly they are being let down by a fragmented system and the shameful waits they are enduring. It is simply unacceptable.”

As these boroughs embrace a more accessible and responsive mental health service framework, the impact of this expansion is expected to be profound, not just for those experiencing crises but for the entire community’s approach to mental health and well-being.

There has been a rallying call from 15 local mental health organisations to all candidates in the upcoming London Mayoral election on May 2.  

Spearheaded by South East London Mind Chief Executive Ben Taylor, the group has outlined five key priorities they urge the next Mayor to address, aiming to enhance mental health support across the capital significantly.

Ben Taylor emphasised the importance of this election for mental health policy: “This is a crucial opportunity to prioritize the mental well-being of all Londoners,” he said.

The Mind in London manifesto advocates for a comprehensive approach to mental health, including tackling the root causes of mental issues, promoting early interventions, and ensuring a diverse and well-funded mental health system.

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