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Sister dailies bid to save mental health ‘lifeline’ from closure

A campaign to save a mental health helpline threatened due to close next month has been launched by two sister dailies.

The Eastern Daily Press and Norwich Evening News are calling on Prime Minister David Cameron to intervene after it was revealed the support line, run by the Norwich and Central Norfolk branch of the charity Mind, was having its funding cut.

The service is due to close at the end of March after being told the £10,000 a month needed to keep it going was being pulled.

The ‘We Mind’ campaign was launched on the EDP’s front page last week, and a petition urging Mr Cameron to save the helpline has been signed by almost 4,000 readers.

EDP mind campaign

The line currently takes around 800 calls a month, after being launched last year, specially trained team operate from 2pm to midnight in the week and 24 hours a day at the weekend,

It was initially funded by Norfolk’s Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) as a means to provide support to the crisis teams, which are run by the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT).

When funding was discontinued by the CCGs last summer, NSFT said it would step in, but only for six months. Both of the publicly-funded bodies now say they won’t provide the cash.

Amanda Hedley, Mind chief executive, said: “I spent some time with the team and was shocked at the seriousness of the calls it receives.

“There were people who had been sexually abused, those who are feeling very suicidal and have been saved and others that have just harmed themselves. For many of them, just the fact someone was at the end of the phone is a comfort in itself and can stop them reaching a desperate state.

“It works very well, but if the support line goes we just go back to where we were a year ago. It would increase pressure on the mental health trust and A&E.

“This comes down entirely to who is responsible for funding it. That is appalling because the people who are using the helpline are the most vulnerable people in society.

“On the scheme of things, £10,000 a month is not much for something that has been proven to work, even if they simply split the cost between them.”


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  • February 24, 2016 at 8:02 am

    written by someone from an “investigations unit”?
    weren`t these called “reporters” up until now?

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  • February 24, 2016 at 2:35 pm

    Q What’s the difference between an investigations editor and a reporter?

    A About £15,000 a year.

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