'Let's make seeking help for mental health conditions as routine as trip to supermarket'

Trust lead for service which is marking 10 years wants people to continue to get support

'Let's make seeking help for mental health conditions as routine as trip to supermarket'
05 December 2018

Seeking help for mental health conditions should be as routine as a trip to the supermarket.

That’s the view of clinical psychologist Dr James Clarke from Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust as the service he runs marks its 10th anniversary.

In the last decade the Psychological Wellbeing Service which offers support and treatment for those with mental health conditions has helped nearly 77,000 people across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

Dr Clarke (pictured) said: “In the last 10 years the care and understanding of people with mental health conditions has improved enormously. I would like to think that the Psychological Wellbeing Service has played a major part in getting people the right help – and also reducing the stigma surrounding mental health conditions.

“So many people have accessed help in the last 10 years – and I hope even more will seek help in the next 10 years.

“We have to keep on ensuring that seeking help for mental health issues is just the same as seeking help for physical health issues. We should be open and honest about it, and it should be as routine as the other things we do in our lives, like making a trip to the supermarket.”

The service, previously known as IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) underwent major changes in 2015.

As well as being renamed the Psychological Wellbeing Service, people living in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough became able to refer themselves directly to the service rather than having to go via their GP.

Dr Clarke said: “People had told us that having to see their GP first had often been barrier to them seeking help. So, via the support of our commissioners and patients themselves, and to ease the pressures on local doctors, we took that barrier away.

"Our staff do a remarkable job, offering people great care and the success of the first 10 years of the service is really thanks to their dedication."

The service helps those suffering from stress, anxiety and depression. Treatments available include personal therapy, guided self-help, and group sessions including training in Mindfulness. In 2017, the service was extended to help those with mental health conditions related to their long-term conditions such as diabetes, heart problems and respiratory disorders.

More than 1,200 people per month are referred to the service, and around two thirds of patients report clinically significant improvements in their symptoms after a short course of treatment, while around half make a complete recovery and need no further treatment.

According to mental health charity Mind, about one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. In England, 1 in 6 people report experiencing a common mental health problem, such as anxiety and depression, in any given week.

ENDS

For more information please contact:

Andy Burrows
Media Manager
E andy.burrows@cpft.nhs.uk
T 01223 219467

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust
Elizabeth House, Fulbourn Hospital
Cambridge, CB21 5EF

T 01223 219400 (open 8:30am to 5pm)
F 01480 398501

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