Community mental health services halted to prioritise coronavirus response
PUBLISHED: 16:50 09 April 2020 | UPDATED: 17:28 09 April 2020
Image by Tiyo Prasetyo from Pixabay
The service which provides counselling and other therapies is considered “a non-essential service” during the COVID-19 response - and charities are stepping in to offer support where they can.
Treatment plans and sessions were stopped last week and resources prioritised to the front line coronavirus response, much to the disappointment of service users who contacted us to say they have been waiting months for appointments.
In a statement, a spokesman from the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT) explained the “primary focus” is support for acute hospitals and those at risk of being admitted to hospital.
He said: “Following national guidance on where resources should be prioritised to support the NHS response to COVID-19, teams at CPFT are having to make temporary changes to their services.
“This means some non-critical services need to temporarily pause while our primary focus is on getting patients who are clinically well enough discharged from the acute hospitals and supporting those in the community who are at high risk of being admitted to hospital.
“These decisions are never made lightly and we will look to re-commence full service levels as soon as we are able.”
Anyone in a mental health crisis with an urgent need can still call the First Response Service via the NHS 111 (Option 2) helpline.
Charities have strengthened their mental health and wellbeing support with online and telephone services for those living in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
While they are unable to pick up on treatment plans that have been put on hold, support is available for anyone who feels they need it during the coronavirus pandemic.
An online mental health and wellbeing service called Qwell has been launched by Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and South Lincolnshire Mind and can be accessed via the website.
The portal has access to articles and forums. Qualified counsellors are also available via a drop-in or scheduled online chat sessions.
Meanwhile, Lifecraft has extended its Lifeline mental health helpline which is now available between 2pm and 11pm on Freephone 0808 808 2121.
Dr Lynne Green, XenZone’s Chief Clinical Officer said: “We would urge people not to wait until they are at crisis point before reaching out for help - we can provide support through the peaks and troughs but prevention is always the best way forward”.
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