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Free number for mental health support

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 29/06/2017

A "new front door" has been created for people who want mental health support and advice.

On Wednesday the new 1737 number was launched, which is free to call from any landline or mobile phone, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"Research shows that four digit numbers are easy to remember and that they attract a wider range of people who may feel other specific lines are not suited to their needs," Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says.

"These helplines [for gambling, alcohol and drug, and depression] will still be accessible through the same phone numbers, but 1737 creates a new front door."

Dr Coleman also said the implementation of the Early Mental Health Response Service continues a scheme which will provide faster and more appropriate support to people who need social or psychological help when they call 111.

The aim is to put appropriate calls through to mental health professionals, avoiding unnecessary police callouts.

"In line with international trends, here in New Zealand we've also seen an increase in demand for mental health and addiction services in recent years," Dr Coleman said.

"We know that around 47 per cent of New Zealanders will experience a mental health issue during their lifetime - and one in five will meet the criteria for a mental health diagnosis in any given year."

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