Government announces new 24-hour psychiatric hotline

As part of its ten year plan to strengthen Danish psychiatry access, the government has announced a 24-hour emergency mental health hotline.

The Danish government has announced the launch of a psychiatric hotline, where callers with psychological disorders, their relatives or helpers can access emergency psychiatric help, 24 hours a day.

The hotline is part of the strategy to strengthen the psychiatry field by 2023, bolstered by a financial injection of DKK 3.2 billion, which was announced in the government’s Finance Act, this week.

The minister of interior and health Sophie Løhde said to Politiken: “No one doubts that they should call 112 if someone has had a cardiac arrest, or if you have a car accident. In the same vein, we need a national psychiatric emergency line.”

A 24/7 staffed line 
Volunteers operate the majority of the existing helplines. As a result, they are not accessible 24/7, which is a problem in a mental health crisis. 

For instance, during last year’s shooting at the Field’s shopping centre, the 23-year-old perpetrator tried to call the Psychiatry Foundation’s advice line, minutes prior to the shooting – but it was closed for the summer holidays.

With this 24/7 line, the government aims to make help available at all times.

Merete Nordentoft, spokesperson for the Danish Psychiatric Association and professor of psychiatry at the University of Copenhagen said to DR : “It can ensure that people can get immediate access, and that is more than what the volunteer-run telephone lines can do.”

A 10-year plan for psychiatry
Speaking to DR Løhde said, “psychiatry needs to be on an equal footing with the rest of the healthcare system.” 

In September 2022, a majority of the Danish parliament agreed to a 10-year plan for psychiatry.

More than 10 percent of the world’s population lives with a mental health disorder, according to Healthcare Denmark.