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Sonia Howe, Becki Meakin, Farah Islam-Barrett


Helplines are positioned at the frontline of health services and play a key role in securing the wellbeing of individuals. Not all helplines are exclusive to health, but many cross cut with health issues, especially around mental health and wellbeing. Evidence both nationally and internationally points to the value of helplines across a number of sectors and especially in outreach for groups such as black and minority ethnic communities, disabled, older and isolated people. However, in 2014, helplines were facing a number of challenges: call volumes had greatly increased, helpline providers were reporting increasing complexity of calls, and an aging population put further pressure on these services. This report investigated the services that helplines offer and the nature of the challenges facing them, exploring helplines through five key themes: the scope of helplines with a health focus; the reach of helplines to the most vulnerable groups; the ability of helplines to facilitate access and signposting to other services; the relevance of helplines to strategic priorities in health and social care; and the role of volunteers in running and manning helplines.
In partnership/with support of: Race Equality Foundation, Helplines Partnership
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