Leeds helpline extends hours amidst mental health crisis

an image of someone on the phoneHelpline calls for extended hours to combat isolation and loneliness in lockdown.

Calls to local helplines surge as more people declared in mental health crisis.

Steff Hanson and Natalie Carr are among those who have used helplines in lockdown.

The NHS Digital figures show urgent and emergency referrals of people in crisis have shot up since the beginning of the first national lockdown.

According to Office For National Statics, in the final week of January 2021, personal well-being scores for life satisfaction and happiness remained at the lowest levels recorded since the survey started in March of 2020.

The survey also revealed that anxiety scores were at the highest levels since April 2020 during the first national lockdown.

A social worker from Bradford City Council, who wishes to remain anonymous, believes helplines are not as beneficial as face to face communication for mental health. She says, “People who struggle with mental health want the socialised side of it.

“They’re often very isolated, so talking to someone over a phone doesn’t always have the same impact. Many people want to feel like they’re being listened to and speaking to a different person each time they call can put them off calling again.”

Many charities are currently working to provide support to those who are in need.

Support After Rape & Sexual Violence Leeds (SARSVL) has extended its helpline hours to accommodate more calls.

SARSVL is an independent feminist organisation that offers a safe space and specialist support to women and girls who have been affected by sexual violence at any time in their lives.

Sonia, a spokesperson and volunteer for the charity, believes that the extra hours will be a huge benefit to people during this time. She says, “The lockdown may make people who have experienced trauma more isolated and lonely.

“We need to be more aware of how the measures of the pandemic can affect people who have had trauma in their life.”

Sonia, SARSVL spokesperson, talks about charities aims.

SARSVL is not the only helpline to have an increase in calls either. Mental health charity Mind has reported that calls are twice the usual volume. The charity warns urgent investment must be made to support community services.

The SARSVL helpline is specific to women and girls who have experienced sexual abuse. However free helplines are available to support all people in need of a chat.

SARSVL’s new helpline hours.

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