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Nurses who run mental health helpline win praise from local MP

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An MP has praised mental health nurses for their “dedication and hard work” after visiting a trust helpline, which receives more than 60,000 calls per year.

Virenda Sharma, Labour MP for Ealing and Southall, highlighted the vital role of nursing staff in keeping people safe when he went to see West London NHS Trust’s round-the-clock helpline service at the start of Mental Health Awareness Week on Monday.

“Our mental health nurses and advisers go above and beyond”

Sarah Rushton

The Single Point of Access (SPA) service, which manages all adult mental health referrals and provides telephone support to patients and carers, received 60,782 calls during the year from April 2018 to March 2019.

It is staffed by a 25-strong team with dedicated mental health advisers and nurses on hand to ensure people with mental health issues or concerns get the right support.

Trust director of local services, Sarah Rushton, who oversees the helpline, said the team delivered a vitally important service across West London.

“Our mental health nurses and advisers go above and beyond, to ensure those they communicate with are listened to and supported, to begin their recovery,” she said.

The SPA helps to provide out-of-hours care for people in crisis 24 hours a day, seven days a week all year round.

“It is a privilege to see the dedication and hard work by their mental health nurses and advisers”

Virenda Sharma

If someone feels unsafe, at risk or unable to cope without professional advice, trained mental health advisers and clinicians will work with them to manage their difficulties without the need to turn to other services like accident and emergency.

In an emergency, the SPA aims to respond within four hours or within 24 hours for urgent cases, any time of day or night – the same response times for acute NHS services.

Mr Sharma said it was a pleasure to meet staff and find out more about the helpline.

“It is a privilege to see the dedication and hard work by their mental health nurses and advisers, in order to keep people in Ealing, Southall and beyond, safe and on the right track,” he said.

He added: “Living with any mental health condition must not be underestimated and it is important that those in need know that there are services like the SPA that can provide support, around the clock.”

Mental Health Awareness Week runs from 13 to 19 May.

West London NHS Trust

Virenda Sharma outside SPA

Source: West London NHS Trust

Virenda Sharma, Labour MP for Ealing and Southall, outside SPA

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