Calling a mental health helpline is one of the quickest ways to obtain help when you are in a crisis. 

Mental health helplines provide access to trained listeners who are able to provide counselling and help you find the support you need. 

In this article, I’ll share some important information about using a mental health helpline and list some of the best helplines in the UK. 

When should I use a mental health helpline?

You should call a mental health helpline if you are struggling to deal with difficult emotions and need to talk to someone quickly. 

Helplines should also be used whenever you are concerned about your mental health and feel like you have no-one to talk to.  

Some helplines will also provide assistance for people who are worried about the mental health of a loved one. 

These helplines can be used to obtain the information and support required to help your friend or family member effectively. 

Benefits of mental health helplines

Non-judgemental listeners

Mental health helplines are staffed by compassionate people who are trained on how to listen in a non-judgemental way. 

This will give you the opportunity to reveal your inner thoughts to someone without the fear of being attacked or condemned.  

Immediate access to support

Calling a helpline is usually the quickest way to obtain mental health support. 

You can be chatting with someone within a few minutes, which is particularly useful if you have experienced a sudden emotional crisis. 

Useful advice

The support staff working mental health helplines are very knowledgable about the factors that affect a person’s mental health. 

They also know the best ways to obtain support for common problems like anxiety, depression, and loneliness — making them the perfect source of advice. 

Low cost

Most mental health helplines in the UK are free or very low cost. 

Before you call a helpline, consider the following factors:

Is the helpline free or are call charges involved?

If money is an issue at the moment, look for a helpline that uses a number that starts with 080 (free call). 

Helplines that use 03 numbers are also a great choice as the call will cost no more than a national call — regardless of your phone provider or type of phone being used. 

When does the helpline open and close?

While some helplines operate 24 hours a day (like the Samaritans helpline) others may only be open during certain times of the day. 

If there is a specific mental health helpline that you are interested in using, find out when they are open beforehand. 

It’s also advisable to call at least an hour before they close, so there is plenty of time to discuss your mental health concerns. 

Will the helpline keep everything you say confidential?

The majority of helplines will keep everything you say on the phone confidential. 

However, if you admit that you have committed a serious arrestable offence e.g. murder, rape etc., then the helpline operator is obliged to report it to the police.

In addition, some helplines will have policies which compel them to take action if a caller mentions they are actively planning to commit suicide. 

This may include contacting authorities to immediately provide assistance.

You can check the organisation’s website to learn if all calls are confidential or ask them when you call the organisation via phone. 

What will you do if the line is busy?

Mental health services are in high demand in the United Kingdom. 

This can lead to some mental health lines being unable to take your call during particularly busy periods. 

You should have a plan of action if this occurs.

Make a list of additional helplines to use, talk to someone in real life, or seek emergency help from a medical professional. 

Mental health helplines operating in the UK

Anxiety UK

Anxiety UK is a mental health charity that provides support to anyone living with anxiety and anxiety-based depression.  

They provide information, support and understanding, along with a valuable helpline. 

Tel: 03444 775 774 (Mon to Fri, 9.30am to 5.30pm)


Bipolar UK

This charity specialises in helping people who are suffering from manic depression or bipolar disorder. 

The helpline can provide you with general information on these conditions and help you obtain additional support.

Tel: 0333 323 3880



CALM stands for the Campaign Against Living Miserably. 

It is a mental health charity that aims to reduce the male suicide rate by providing mental health support to men.

Tel: 0800 58 58 58 (daily, 5pm to midnight)


Men’s Health Forum

This charity aims to help men and boys live healthier, longer and more fulfilling lives. 

It provides 24/7 stress support for men through email, chat and text.

You can also call them to be directed to appropriate support services.

Tel: 020 7922 7908



Mind is one of the largest mental health charities in the UK. 

They provide a wide range of services including drop-in centres, supported housing, counselling, befriending service, and a helpline.

Tel: 0300 123 3393 (Mon to Fri, 9am to 6pm)


No Panic

No Panic is a charity dedicated to supporting people who suffer from obsessive compulsive disorders, panic attacks, phobias, and related anxiety disorders. 

They offer courses to help people overcome these conditions, along with a helpline.

Tel: 0844 967 4848 (daily, 10am to 10pm)


OCD Action

This non-profit charity provides support to people with obsessive compulsive disorders including treatment information, online rejoices and a helpline.

Tel: 0845 390 6232 (Mon to Fri, 9.30am to 5pm)



This is another charity helping people with obsessive compulsive disorders. 

They share research findings, news articles, treatment information, useful fact sheets and a helpline.

Tel: 0845 120 3778 (Mon to Fri, 9am to 5pm)



PAPYRUS’ mission is to reduce the number of young people who take their own lives. 

Their primary goals are to remove the stigma associated with suicide and to help people respond to suicidal behaviour. 

Tel: 0800 068 4141 (Mon to Fri, 10am to 5pm and 7 to 10pm. Weekends from 2 to 5pm)


Rethink Mental Illness

Established more than 40 years, Rethink Mental Illness provides support for anyone living with a mental illness as well as useful mental illness information.

Tel: 0300 5000 927 (Mon to Fri, 9.30am to 4pm)



The Samaritans provide one of the few 24 hour helplines in the UK. 

Their helpline is for anyone who is experiencing feelings of distress or despair.

Tel: 116 123 (free 24-hour helpline)



SANE supports both mentally ill people and their carers. 

They provide a variety of useful resources and a helpline.

Tel: 0300 304 7000 (daily, 4.30 to 10.30pm)


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