23 November 2016

Mental health crisis line update

Work to redevelop Bristol Mental Health's (BMH) crisis line is continuing, to ensure people in mental health crisis get the support they need faster.

Through a specific project board, BMH and NHS Bristol Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) are working collaboratively with service users and carers, elected officers from Bristol Independent Mental Health Network (BIMHN) and staff to identify solutions. Changes will only be made when we have alternative provisions and plans in place to inform and support service users.

In the meantime, the crisis line will continue to operate in its current form. This includes over the Christmas period and into the new year. Initial proposals were to make changes from the end of November, however the timescales have been extended to allow for this valuable coproduction work to be completed.

For example, the board is exploring ways to improve information about BMH's mental health services and to make them more accessible, such as through the website and in printed material. In addition, we are working with regular callers to the line to ensure they have alternative support.

Currently the crisis line is being used for much more than its intended purpose, which is to offer specialist intervention to people in mental health crisis. More than two thirds (66%) of callers to the crisis line are seeking advice, general information or to check appointments. This is making it harder for those in mental health crisis, as well as professionals supporting those in mental health crisis, to get through.

The project board is therefore looking at ways in which those with more general or administrative enquiries can receive timely answers to their questions, whilst those in urgent, mental health crisis can be fast-tracked for immediate support.

For more information or to offer feedback and ideas, please email awp.bristolmanagementteam@nhs.net.

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