24-hour helpline to direct callers to over 1,000 mental health support services

24-hour helpline to direct callers to over 1,000 mental health support services

A national 24-hour hotline to advise concerned callers about contacting over 1,000 mental health supports and services will be launched today.

The National Ambulance Service will operate and oversee the helpline which can be accessed through a freephone number.

The mental health information helpline will also be involved in rolling out counselling, psychology, and psychiatry initiatives as well as a special textline in the coming months.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and junior minister for mental health, Jim Daly, will launch the phoneline service today.

The dedicated service will connect callers with a team member who will provide information about any supports available in their area and nationally.

This could include accessing projects such as Jigsaw centres, which support positive youth mental health, as well as groups such as the Samaritans.

Section 39 bodies — that operate as charities and in the private sector — will also be referred to callers.

Mr Daly will announce that the number for the freephone service is 1800 111 888 and that it will begin operations immediately.

Mr Daly will say: “I instantly recognised [when a minister] that we had many excellent service providers throughout the country.

“However, it also became apparent pretty quickly that the vast majority of people did not know what the different services providers offered, what was available in their area, or how to get in touch with them.”

Crucially, the call teams operating the special phone support service have all received training in SafeTalk.

SafeTalk is an internationally recognised training programme that prepares participants to recognise and engage with people who may be having thoughts of suicide.

The phoneline has been tested in recent weeks but will go live today and will be available around the clock thereafter.

It is hoped that the new service will particularly help those who may be at risk of suicide, those who may need counselling and anyone seeking support after a bereavement.

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