A MENTAL health trust is making all calls to its services free of charge.

Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust (TEWV) has introduced the freephone line to try and make it easier for people to get help in a mental health emergency.

Those in mental distress, including children and older people, can now contact their local crisis service on freephone number 0800 0516 171.

Ruth Hill, chief operating officer at TEWV, said: “Having a freephone line for those in mental distress is the right thing to do and we are pleased to be able to offer this.

“Over the last couple of years crisis services across TEWV have been focussing on delivering quality improvements that will enhance patient care. We are confident that the freephone line will help improve access and pathways into services and will compliment alternative service provision available in the area.

“At TEWV we place those who use our services at the centre of all we do and are working hard to make sure that our crisis services meet the needs of our local communities and are fit for the future.”

Earlier this year, TEWV launched a single point of access telephone number to make it easier for people getting in touch, which is available 24 hours a day.

The freephone line was introduced in response to national guidance to reduce barriers to accessing urgent mental health support.

Callers, including those with learning disabilities and/or autism, will be offered a series of options which will divert them to their local crisis service. People calling the existing single point of access number will be diverted to the freephone line with a view to this replacing the number in the coming months.

For advice on what to do in a mental health emergency please visit www.tewv.nhs.uk/crisisadvice.