C.A.L.L. was launched in April 1995 to cover the former County of Clwyd. The service was funded by Clwyd Health Authority as a two-year pilot project. The service developed from very limited opening hours to 365 days a year, based on the needs expressed by service users.
Service users in North West Wales had been requesting the same type of helpline. When the Health Authorities of Clwyd & Gwynedd merged to form North Wales Health Authority a decision was taken to extend the catchment area to cover the whole of North Wales. A year or so later the service was commissioned by Powys Healthcare NHS Trust to provide the helpline service throughout their area.
The service provided by CALL falls into two parts. Initially the caller is offered emotional support through listening and allowing them to express their feelings regarding any crisis or situation. We also provide an information service whereby from the database we can provide contacts for agencies, both statutory and voluntary, local to the caller. Free literature is also provided on a range of symptoms, mental health problems and the services provided by particular agencies.
Since May 2001 the Welsh Assembly Government has provided the funding to extend the service throughout Wales. Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board hosts the service and employs the staff.
With the funding provided by the Welsh Assembly Government we are now able to operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The service also operates a text messaging service so that mobile telephone users can text and receive text information direct to their mobiles.
The helpline website has also further developed and visitors to the site can now search for agencies in their local area and email any updates on agencies that they come across. On the site is a questionnaire so that anyone who has used the helpline service can comment, anonymously, on their perception of the service. This is valuable feedback and allows us to further develop and improve the services we offer.