New 24-hour mental health helpline for residents of Sunderland and South Tyneside 1 April 2022, South Tyneside – Mental Health Matters (MHM) have successfully launched a new mental health helpline to support residents of Sunderland and South Tyneside. The helpline, staffed by a team of highly skilled and compassionate Support Workers, offers free 24/7 emotional support to residents aged 18 and over. The team also provide advice, guidance, and signposting to other local services that can offer additional support. Individuals who aren’t comfortable phoning the helpline can also access support from a confidential 24/7 web chat service, available via Mental Health Matters’ website. Jane Hughes, CEO of MHM, said: “We are excited to expand our helpline service to support the communities of Sunderland and South Tyneside. Having someone to talk to when you are struggling can be hugely beneficial and our specialist team is ready to listen and provide non-judgemental support any time, day or night”. Mental Health Matters' helpline supported over 75,000 calls last year and is proud to be accredited by the Helplines Standard, which recognises best practice in helpline work. The service is being commissioned by Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust. Victoria Malone, Associate Director for Access Services in the region at Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are excited to work with Mental Health Matters to provide this new service to our local communities. “It is vital that people can reach out and get support as early as possible when they are struggling to cope, before they reach a crisis point. “Demand for mental health services is on the rise everywhere following the stresses of the COVID pandemic, the rising cost of living, and many other factors. Our Trust is only one part of the system; but by working closely with our partners in the third sector like Mental Health Matters, we can enhance the services we provide. “This new helpline provided by Mental Health Matters will complement and support our Crisis Team. By working together, we can ensure that people in Sunderland and South Tyneside who are in distress receive the best possible care and support, when they need it most.” Residents can access support by calling 0800 138 6543.