The future of mental health helplines

Lauren Chakkalackal, Research Officer:

"Myself and Kirsten from the research team, will embark this summer on an evaluation of a number of mental health helplines across England. The evaluation was commissioned by the Mental Health Helplines Partnership, a consortium of more than fifty organisations offering helpline services to people with mental health needs.  

The aim of the project is to evaluate and demonstrate the value of their members’ helpline services. We are interested in looking at the future of mental health helplines, as new services are being introduced such as texting, mental health forums or email for more anonymity. These may create a disadvantage to traditional helplines.

Over the next few months, the team will consult with 14 member helplines, including Anxiety UK, Beat, CALM, Nightlink and YoungMinds.

In the first phase, we will be speaking with helpline staff about the usefulness of their helpline in terms of the results they help callers achieve. At the same time, we will be speaking with Community Mental Health Teams (CMHTs) across England to gauge their views on helplines and the possible impact if some helplines were to become obsolete.

Following the completion of the project, we hope to make recommendations to member helplines highlighting areas that are performing well and those that could be improved upon. We will be reporting our findings by Spring 2012.

Published 14 July 2011 |
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There are 4 comments.

  • I once applied to Samaritans to help out. They said I could not because I had mental health problems in the past

    Anonymous 26 July 2011
  • This sounds really interesting and I look forward to hearing some of the results. Here in Australia there are many helplines, and one in particular that we advertise through the project I work on. I would be interested to know how many people take up this option rather than online based supports. Thanks for sharing!

    Lucy @ 05 September 2011
  • would be interested in hearing how the work is progresing todate Thanks

    Graham Logan 19 October 2011
  • Mental health helplines have proved a life saver to me on more than one occasion.I value the anonimity when you ring and the chance to talk about major difficulties without being judged.

    Jenny 30 October 2011
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