Hospital trust team up for award after supporting those struggling with mental health

Mental health team up for award after supporting those struggling. Picture: PA

Mental health team up for award after supporting those struggling. Picture: PA - Credit: Archant

A mental health helpline in Cambridgeshire that receives around 3,000 calls a month has been nominated for an award.

The team from Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust’s First Response Service, which provides support and advice to those in mental health crisis, has been shortlisted in the Laing Buisson 2020 Awards.

The awards celebrate businesses in the public and private sector that set new standards of excellence within their industries.

The FRS team are among 12 candidates in the Outstanding Response to COVID in Healthcare Award.

The awards are now in their 15th year and judges said they were looking for “examples of strong culture delivering better care, excellent communication, early responses, adapting to and overcoming challenges during the pandemic”.

The First Response Service can be accessed by anyone in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough by calling the NHS 111 helpline and selecting “option 2”.

The team, which is made up of a range of mental health professionals, receive about 3,000 calls a month.

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They initially assess a person over the phone and, if needed, can arrange further support either by phone or video call.

If a further face-to-face assessment is required, the team can arrange for a clinician to visit them at home.

Dr Mike Spencer, consultant psychiatrist who submitted the application to the awards, said: “Like all teams at the trust, my colleagues at the First Response Service have responded extremely well to the great challenges of the pandemic and have adapted their ways of working – they have done really well.

“We’ve moved to more online consultations, and the team has overcome the challenges of remote working and are still working safely for the benefit of all those who need our support.”

Meanwhile, the trust’s psychological wellbeing service has received its 50,000th self-referral.

It began taking self-referrals in 2015 which meant that people could contact the service directly rather than having to go via their GP.

Clinical lead and clinical psychologist Dr James Clarke, said: “Mental ill-health can affect one in four of us during our lifetime, and we know our service – and allowing people to self-refer – continues to help people to live the lives they wish to and reduce stigma around mental health.”

Anyone registered with a GP in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough can self-refer. For more details visit or call 0300 300 0055.