COMMERCIAL: Primary care trust commissioners in Medway have announced that from 1 April, support from the helpline Mental Health Matters will be available round the clock.

Previously the helpline was open in the evenings and at weekends but was closed in the daytime during the week.

The increase in hours is being funded by the three primary care trusts - including NHS Medway - and two local authorities in the region, and “reflects the success of service in helping people who are distressed”.

Lauretta Kavanagh, director of mental health commissioning for the Medway and Kent primary care trusts, said the helpline received more than 10,000 last year.

Alan Heyes, from the voluntary organisation Mental Health Matters which runs the helpline, and also a live chat email system, said: “Since it started in Kent and Medway more than two years ago, the helpline has provided successful interventions for people with problems such as low mood, emotional distress and stress.”