Carlisle, England, Aug, 2021 -- A mental health helpline is planning to expand its service after seeing demand increase during the pandemic.
MindLine, run by Carlisle and Eden Mind, is set to benefit from donations from The Cumberland Building Society.
The line, operated by staff in Carlisle, currently runs from noon to 11pm weekdays and 5pm to 11pm on weekends and bank holidays.
There are also text and web chat facilities.
Michael Boaden, adult services manager for Carlisle and Eden Mind, said it was run on behalf of all Mind branches in Cumbria and served as both source of information and helpline for people who just wanted a chat.
Calls have increased over the last year and, although many were from regular callers, the pandemic had seen the number rise.
Michael said: "What we’ve seen over the course of the pandemic is that we’ve had an increase in calls overall and that’s been from a wide range of people.
"That includes people who are struggling with mental health issues generally speaking and have struggled more because their anxiety has increased or their symptoms of depression have got worse.
"And that includes people who may have had difficulty accessing other support during the pandemic through to people who never had mental issues before and were experiencing anxiety in particular for the first time and are potentially finding that quite frightening and disturbing and needed support with where to get help."
The funding from The Cumberland comes through its AGM held in Carlisle on July 20.
The society is giving £1 for each vote cast with contributions also going to Mind in Lancashire and Support in Mind Scotland.
Phillip Ward, brand manager for The Cumberland, said: "Good mental health is a priority for us, and it’s become even more important over the last 18 months due to the impact of the pandemic.
"We’ve worked closely with Mind for a number of years as they have helped support our goal of improving colleague wellbeing, so we are thrilled to be able to provide them with this donation on behalf of our members that voted at our AGM.
"The funds will be used locally to support initiatives that will make a real difference in our communities."
Michael added: "It costs an enormous amount of money every year for us to maintain what is quite a complex system of support.
"So we draw on sources of support from all over including our own fundraising.
"The Cumberland’s donation will go to specifically keep the line open and hopefully develop the service as well, because one of the things we’re really keen to do in the longer term is to extend its hours.
"I’m not saying this donation will allow us to do that but it will be a massive contribution to keeping all the systems up and running."
Michael said staff had had to adjust to working from home, periods when they’d been stood down from work, and pointing callers towards other sources of help for practical problems like having enough food.
He said: "We’ve had to have a greater awareness but I also think that the principles of the way we operate the service haven’t changed.
"They’re very much about being supportive, open, non-judgemental and working with people as they are and what they need in terms of support."
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
Published: Thursday, August 5, 2021
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