The 'It's Okay' mental health helpline

Living Well UK, Birmingham Mind, and NHS CCG Birmingham and Solihull

Responding to the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis and the resulting astronomical increased pressure on the NHS services, the Third Sector rallied to find mental health solutions that could deliver outstanding support and timely interventions for those in need. Pooling the knowledge and capacity of the NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) for Birmingham and Solihull, Living Well UK, and Birmingham Mind, the trio debuted a one-stop mental health helpline – the first of its kind to bring together NHS and Third Sector resources. Consisting of a 24-hour phone-line, an instant messenger function, and an email service, this provision ensured that the client journey was significantly simplified, despite the added pressure of running all support remotely. For the first time, clients could self-refer with a call, be instantly assessed and helped by trained therapists, and given a bespoke follow-on treatment plan with the partners. Throughout the course of the joint campaign, awareness grew massively. In the first full week that the campaign was live, unique calls passed 400 for the first time since its launch in March, with 418 calls; and by the third week, 525 calls were made in total. The total call numbers increased from 1,466 to 2,074 in one month.