“This line will be maintained because it has proven its added value. It was created in the context of a pandemic, closely associated with the need to monitor people more in the initial phase of the pandemic”, the president of the Shared Services of the Ministry of Health (SPMS) told Lusa.

According to Luís Goes Pinheiro, the approximately 200 daily calls to the SNS 24 psychological counselling line prove that this service is an “added value in all contexts” and that it is “useful for Portuguese people and residents in Portugal”.

Now in English

Since April 1, 2020, when it was created, the SNS 24 psychological counselling line has already served more than 150,000 people and is also now available in English.

This innovation is justified by the growing demand for SNS 24 services that already existed in English, such as sorting, but also by the fact that Portugal is receiving Ukrainian citizens and foreigners residing in that country, due to the war, said Luís Goes Pinheiro.

“In 2021, we had about 85,000 calls in which the user sought to be answered in English in the triage area and this year we are already at almost 50,000”, explained the head of SPMS.

According to him, this English-language service can also be “a great asset” for people arriving in Portugal from Ukraine, taking into account that the psychological counselling line serves people with symptoms associated with depression and anxiety.

“This is exactly what these people who come from a theatre of conflict need. From this point of view, it is one more support given to people who do not master the Portuguese language”, stressed Luís Goes Pinheiro, highlighting the role of the Ordem dos Psicólogos in determining the clinical algorithms that are used in the service.

SNS (the Portuguese National Health Service) offers a free health helpline which includes the above services. It is available 24 hours a day by calling 808 24 24 24