Suffolk Mind Night Owls mental health support line will continue for another year thanks to funding from the NHS Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care Board
A mental health support line which was threatened with closure will continue for another year.
Today the CEO of Suffolk Mind confirmed the charity’s Night Owls phone line, which runs every evening, will remain open for another year, funded solely by the NHS Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care Board (SNEE).
Previously the service was funded by both SNEE and Suffolk County Council and was set to close at the end of March 2024.
Last week, Danielle Valentino, 38, of Felixstowe, who has bipolar disorder and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), said she believed the end of Night Owls would lead to people with mental illness feeling frightened and isolated.
On learning the Suffolk Night Owls service will run until March 2025, Danielle said: “I think it’s fantastic that it’s been given the funding to continue.
“It will be a huge relief to many people who find it difficult to reach out and talk to somebody. I’m glad that Suffolk NHS integrated care board were able to see the detriment cutting this service would be, it shows some promise that they are taking notice of the people rather than the finances.
“Suffolk Mind is a fantastic service and it would not put something in place if they did not feel it was required.”
In a statement Jon Neal, CEO of Suffolk Mind, said: “We’re pleased that we are able to keep this important service going for another year.
“During this time we will work with the NHS to see if we can find the best way to support people in the longer term.”
Jason Joseph, from SNEE, said: “We are grateful to everyone who took time to give their feedback on the Suffolk Night Owls service.
“We have listened to what we have been told and recognise the importance of the service to many people.
“We have reflected and believe taking more time to work with service users and partners to review the current service and determine how we best meet their needs is the right way forward.”
Over the next 12 months SNEE will engage with service users and partners to review the service, remaining mindful of other sources of help and support which have developed over the years since Suffolk Night Owls was first launched.
Those that use the Suffolk Night Owls service have been updated via a letter from SNEE.
Suffolk Night Owls is available to anyone in Suffolk (excluding Waveney) who needs emotional support, including those with complex emotional needs and anyone struggling with loneliness, depression or anxiety. More details can be found on the Suffolk Mind website.