The Department has committed funding of £5 million (2004–05 to 2006–07) and is actively supporting the implementation and development of an infrastructure to facilitate mental health helpline providers, working in partnership to achieve increased quality, efficiency, capacity, governance, choice and access in relation to the provision of helpline services 24 hours a day. Members of the Mental Health Helplines Partnership (MHHP) are taking forward a detailed programme of work and progress can be reported in the following areas:
Accredited training: facilitation of accredited training for mental health helpline workers through the Telephone Helplines Association.
Mental Health Helplines Quality Standards (MHHQS): 25 helplines have received accreditation and work is progressing to accredit a further 12.
Targeted Investment Resources: The MHHP has processed over 20 applications for targeted investment and approved 10 to date. Further applications are currently being processed.
Telecommunications solution: Once established this telecommunications solution will enable callers to access mental health helplines 24 hours a day. It is anticipated that a preferred provider will be identified within six months.
MHHP website: Negotiations are at an advanced stage with a preferred provider for the development and maintenance of a website, which will provide partnership updates on all areas of work and helpline services.
Shared Services provision: Later this year work is due to commence on commissioning shared services for MHHP members.
Mental health helplines conference: The MHHP will host a second national mental health helpline conference in May, to share its achievements with service users and key stakeholders.