Commissioning us - Helplines and Advice
Rethink Mental Illness has a number of helpline and advice services, which offer practical and emotional support and signposting to those experiencing severe mental illness, their carers and relatives.
The national Rethink Mental Illness Advice Service fills a major gap in the information and help available to people with mental illness and their carers. We also provide 24/7 helplines covering particular areas or for particular groups of service users and carers, some of which are directly linked to crisis accommodation, working in partnership with local Crisis Resolution and Home Treatment Teams.
Helplines and Advice Principles
- experience - our staff are highly trained to provide specific solution based guidance and offer information and advice to 8,000 people a year through RAIS alone
- member of the Helplines Partnership - all our helpline services adhere to their quality standards and are freephone as well as recovery focused
- RAIS provides evidence to the media, government and our own policy team, to improve mental health policy.
Our Helplines and Advice Services
A list of our Helpline and Advice services can be found here.
Gloucestershire self-harm helpline
Our Self-harm Helpline offers hope to people who are experiencing self-harm in Gloucestershire. Through the helpline and it's service user-led support groups people in Gloucestershire have been able to stop people taking another step along the self-harming spectrum, with many reaching a point where they no longer experience it.
The service operates a text messaging and web chat service, meaning vital help can be accessed at times when making a phone call is not possible, like on the bus or when other people are around.
You can read Claire's blog about her experiences here.
Helpline case study
Helplines case-study: Focusline (Leicestershire and Rutland, and Derbyshire)
Mental health support teams traditionally close at 5pm every weekday, leaving vulnerable people who are seeking some kind of support in a crisis during the night and at weekends.
Focusline currently comprises two different telephone helplines serving people seeking mental health support in Leicester City, Leicestershire and Rutland, and Derbyshire.
Mental health teams shut at 5pm so there’s nowhere for people to go for support – that’s when they use Focusline. A caller could be hearing voices or feeling suicidal, or self-harming.
There is a huge difference between Focusline and the Samaritans, for example. The Samaritans is completely confidential, whereas Focusline is linked in with other mental health teams. If someone was self-harming and called us we would get the emergency services out to them and we frequently liaise with other support teams and statutory services.
The helpline definitely takes the pressure off hospital wards and off the mental health teams. When they go out to see their clients they can give our cards out. Focusline saves people from getting into a crisis at night or at the weekend and thus reduces hospital admissions.
Mark Smith, Service Manager
Both helplines are open throughout the night, with the Derbyshire service open 5pm until 9am Monday to Friday and 24 hours a day at weekends. They are aimed at people aged 18-65, representing the whole range of mental illness from depression to psychosis.
The service was originally commissioned by the primary care trust as a result of a meeting between people who use mental health services, NHS direct and members of the statutory services. The idea was to provide out of hours support to help meet the guidance set out in the National Service Framework Standards six and seven.
As the infrastructure and technology are already set up, the operation could easily be expanded to cover a wider geographical area – a real bonus for commissioners thinking of funding further helplines.
Staff are all fully trained, both in-house and through an external training programme and Focusline is accredited by the Helplines Partnership.
Need practical advice & info? We can help.
Contact our Advice team about mental health & related issues
0300 5000 927 Monday - Friday 9.30am - 4pm, not including bank holidays