A NEW phone line has been made available for people to call in a mental health emergency.

The new number, which provides an all age, single point of access, is aimed at making it easier for people to get help.

It has been launched by Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust, which provides mental health and learning disabilities services across County Durham and Darlington, Teesside and most of North Yorkshire.

The trust has 15 crisis teams and the new number replaced the individual ones used previously.

It is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and diverts callers, including those with learning disabilities and/or autism, to their local service.

Ruth Hill, chief operating officer at the trust, said: “If a person’s mental or emotional state gets worse quickly, it’s important that they are able to access help fast.

“Experiencing a mental health crisis can be a frightening and can leave people feeling alone, out of control and unable to cope.

"Having a single telephone number means people don’t have to work out who their local team is and which number they need to call when they are in a heightened level of distress; helping to remove barriers to services and ensuring people get the right support, from the right people when they most need it.

“Over the last couple of years crisis services across TEWV have been focussing on delivering quality improvements that will enhance patient centred care. We are confident that the new phone line will help improve access and pathways into services whilst complimenting alternative service provision and options.

“We are committed to continuing to improve crisis services to ensure they are ‘fit for the future’ and that they meet the diverse needs of people in the local communities.”

Advice on what to do in a mental health crisis is online at www.tewv.nhs.uk/crisisadvice. Local crisis teams can be contacted by calling 0300 0200317.