Belfast hospital’s freephone help point in children’s A&E improves access to mental health support

To coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week, which started this week- 13th May, Infopoint, the UK’s leading provider of free telephone help points, has helped Belfast Health and Social Care Trust make it easier for young people to access mental health support.

The Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children has one of Infopoint’s free telephone help points installed in its Emergency Department, with direct access to the mental health charity Samaritans.

The Trust has relied upon Infopoints to deliver free telephone access to services in its hospitals and health & wellbeing centres for a number of years and has installed the service in its children’s hospital to respond to a specific need around mental health.

Senior Manager, Mandy Magee of Belfast Health & Social Care Trust, said:
‘’Not only does the freephone Infopoint provide quick and easy access for patients and their relatives to a number of helpful services, it also includes a free direct line to the Samaritans.

‘’The Infopoint at The Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children directed a high number of calls to the Samaritans in 2018; by making it more convenient for our younger patients to access this support service in a safe environment, we hope that we are helping to improve mental health support and make sure that young people are getting the help they need before problems escalate”.

The Samaritans charity offers a free phone number to call for support: 116 123. The team at Samaritans are at the end of the phone 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and respond to more than 5 million requests for help a year.

The small prompt of having the Samaritans free dial visible and easily accessible in locations such as hospitals, schools and youth centres could be life changing to at least one person going through a hard time.

In 2019, mental health is being continually discussed especially when it comes to today’s generation of young people, with one in eight 5 to 19 year olds having had at least one mental disorder when assessed in 2017 [Mental Health of Children and Young People in England, 2017 [PAS]].

This year sees Mental Health Awareness Week focusing on the theme Body Image and how we think and feel about our bodies.

There are many important initiatives out there campaigning to support Mental Health, such as Heads Together, which is a mental health initiative spearheaded by The Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Heads Together combines a campaign to tackle stigma and change the conversation on mental health with fundraising for a series of innovative new mental health services. Heads Together link up and offer contact details for the Samaritans on its support page.

If you are a local authority or NHS trust and would like to find out more about Infopoint help points, please click HERE to contact us.