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Help in a crisis

 

If there is an immediate danger to life, please dial 999 or go to your nearest Accident and Emergency Department.

I am in Gloucestershire

If you or someone you know needs help in a mental health crisis, call our crisis teams.

Call 0800 169 0398.

And choose one of the following options depending on your location:

  • Option 1 for Stroud and Cotswolds
  • Option 2 for Gloucester and Forest
  • Option 3 for Cheltenham, Tewkesbury and North Cotswolds

Please note: telephone calls may be recorded. If you do not want that to happen, please tell the person who answers your call and they will phone you back on a ‘non-recordable’ telephone.

The number is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Occasionally, callers may be asked to leave their name and number on an answerphone. In these circumstances, staff will return the call within one hour.

I am in Herefordshire

If you are in Herefordshire and need support, please call us using one of the following numbers:

  • Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm, please contact the team or service who currently provide your care.
  • Monday to Friday, 5pm – 9am and 24 hours on weekends and bank holidays, please call our Mental Health Matters Helpline on: 0800 015 7271

These contact numbers are for people already in contact with our services. If you are not currently in contact with us, please call 111 or your GP.

Our out of hours, weekend and bank holiday service is provided by Mental Health Matters.

If you need help but are not in crisis, please contact your GP if in opening hours, or 111. If you don’t have a GP use the NHS service search to locate the nearest one to you. If your query is not urgent, you can find our contact details here.

Are you feeling vulnerable? Do you need to talk to somebody now?

samaritans

Call free on 116 123
If you are experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including those which could lead to suicide, you can call the Samaritans.

Stay Alive App

A pocket suicide prevention resource for the UK, packed full of useful information and tools to help you stay safe in crisis. You can use it if you are having thoughts of suicide or if you are concerned about someone else who may be considering suicide. The app can be accessed through the Apple Store, Google Play and downloaded as a pdf.

childline

Call free on 0800 11 11
If you are a child or a young person you may want to speak to Childline.

selfharm

Call 0808 816 0606
Or text 07537 410 022
A safe, supportive, non-judgmental and informative service for people who self harm, their friends, families and carers.
Opem every day 5pm – 10pm for phone and text support.

Helen Spear is a Principal Speech and Language Therapist employed by Gloucestershire Care Services and based in Head and Neck Cancer Care, Speech and Language Therapy at Gloucester Royal and Cheltenham hospitals. 

As Helen explained, laryngectomy patients have to re-learn basic skills most people take for granted: “With a laryngectomy, the voicebox is removed and patients are left with a permanent stoma – or opening – in the front of the neck.  Our role is to help people manage to breathe and speak again through the stoma using an artificial voice prosthesis or other methods of voice production or communication.”

“On average, we see twelve new people per year who have to have a laryngectomy. Surgery takes place typically within four weeks of diagnosis, so patients have to make a huge adjustment in a short time. We see patients before surgery, often in a joint session with someone who is already living life after a laryngectomy. This is important because it helps patients understand what to expect afterwards and the ways they will communicate and eat again.”

Therapy starts within days of surgery, as Helen explained: “We start working on communication and swallowing within one or two weeks of surgery to give patients time to heal. Working in a team including the consultant, dietitian, clinical nurse specialists and in- and out-patient nurses, patients are supported to learn to voice and swallow again. Support from this team is long-term with our work being around voice and swallow management when the voice prostheses wear out or when things just do not go quite right.”

Technology in speech prosthesis has continues to progress with new, improved equipment coming onto the market.  Helen added: “People have a much better choice in products to help live with their condition. A networking and support event like this allows patients to keep abreast of what is out there and discuss with other laryngectomees old and new what works for them.”

The networking and support event will include a talk by Head and Neck Cancer Consultant Surgeon Charlie Hall from Gloucester Royal Hospital, as well as the opportunity to discuss stoma care, speech prostheses and related products with medical equipment companies including Forth Medical and Platon Medical and suppliers Countrywide and R Care. The companies are sponsoring the event to provide refreshments.

Invitations have been sent out to all the people with laryngectomy in the area known to the Gloucestershire Care Services Speech and Language therapy team. If you are living with a laryngectomy and have not received an invitation but would like to attend, please contact the speech and language therapy team on 08454 228105.

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