A NEW mental health helpline has been launched to provide urgent support for Cheshire residents.

Cheshire and Wirral Partnership (CWP), the county's NHS trust that runs mental health services, had intended to launch the helpline next year but brought it forwards due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, it is open to people of all ages – including children.

Suzanne Edwards, acting director of operations, said: "I am delighted that we now have a dedicated local helpline for people with concerns about their mental health.

"The dedicated phone number should now be everyone’s first port of call for urgent mental health help in Cheshire and Wirral. It is operated by local NHS staff who can connect people experiencing mental health issues with the best local support.

“Launching a new service in such a short space of time, under the current circumstances, is testament to our very dedicated staff and I would like to say a big thank you to all involved.

"Having joined the team on one of their first shifts this weekend, I know they are already making a really positive difference to local people by helping those that need specialist support in a timely, person-centred way."

If you need support, call the new helpline on 0300 303 3972.

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The helpline is part of the NHS Long Term Plan to improve access to mental health support.

In an immediate, life-threatening emergency, always call 999.

For more information and support visit cwp.nhs.uk

Children and young people can also access support at mymind.org.uk