A new 24-hour freephone support line has opened for people experiencing an urgent mental health crisis.

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT) has seen an increase in people struggling with anxiety, emotional and financial stress and other mental health issues.

As the country goes into lockdown again, the ELFT mental health crisis lines - which run across three London boroughs, including Newham and Tower Hamlets - are now operating 0800 freephone numbers.

This change aims to make it easier for everyone who lives or works in those boroughs to access urgent crisis support from the NHS when they need it.

The support lines are designed to be a “first port of call” for anyone experiencing a mental health crisis and to remove the need for those people to seek help via hospital accident and emergency services.

ELFT crisis pathway service manager Melanie King said making the lines free to call would make them more accessible.

“We are committed to ensuring our mental health crisis support is available to anyone who needs it,” she said.

“Knowing the phone call won’t cost any money could be what makes the difference in someone picking up the phone and asking for the help they really need.”

The crisis lines allow callers to receive support and advice from mental health professionals.

For young people under 18, support from a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services nurse is available seven days a week and urgent assessments can be arranged if needed.

For people in Newham, the new mental health crisis line number is 0800 073 0066.

Those in Tower Hamlets should call 0800 073 0003.

These 0800 numbers are now open but the former numbers for these crisis lines also remain operational until April to help make the transition as smooth as possible.

More information on all ELFT services that are available, including Talking Therapies, as well as tips on managing your mood and mental health can be found on the ELFT website.

Visit https://www.elft.nhs.uk/News/Looking-After-Your-Mind-Mood-and-Mental-Health-Wellbeing for more.