Coronavirus - mental health support in Suffolk

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) has set up a 24/7 helpline offering immediate support for mental health difficulties during the Coronavirus pandemic.

The freephone service, called First Response, is staffed by mental health professionals from the Trust and will provide reassurance, self-help advice, support and signposting designed to avoid the need for people to attend hospital, except in the case of a medical emergency.

It will be available to members of the public of any age, regardless of whether or not they are an existing NSFT service user. 

The line will also be open to other healthcare professionals such as GPs, ambulance and social care staff who need to make referrals or seek advice when working with people undergoing mental health difficulties.

First Response will be available on 0808 196 3494. Callers will hear a recorded message instructing them to press either 1 or 2, depending on whether they are a professional or member of the public, and will then be connected to a mental health practitioner.

The current restrictions we are facing as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic are unprecedented and this inevitably is putting people under additional strain and anxiety.

The First Response service has been designed to keep people safe in their homes by providing them with immediate mental health support and it is hoped that this will be particularly helpful during this period of uncertainty. 

First Response will be open to anyone in Norfolk or Suffolk. For more information, visit

NSFT’s Wellbeing service is also offering a range of webinars to help people during the Coronavirus pandemic and further information can be found here

In addition to the new NSFT phone line, Suffolk County Council together with the NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk and NHS West Suffolk clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), have created the Suffolk Mental Health, Emotional Wellbeing and Learning Disabilities COVID-19 Information Hub, which brings together guidance, tips and support in one place.