COPD and chronic lung conditions

It is common for people living with a Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) to feel anxious or low in mood. Physical symptoms such as breathlessness, coughing, fatigue and reduced activity can make you feel stressed, anxious or depressed. These can be very frightening and can make people feel anxious or embarrassed. This can result in changes of behaviour and reduced activity levels and this may worsen your symptoms.

Talking to someone

Most people do not speak to anyone about the emotional or psychological impacts off their condition. This may be because they feel nothing can be done to help them. They don’t know how to talk about it or they believe that other people would judge them. Talking to a friend, a relative or a healthcare professional mat be helpful It is helpful and so important to remain active and sociable.

Finding support

Most healthcare professionals are aware of these psychological issues and are willing to help. Please remember that you are not alone; emotional effects are commonly experienced with COPD and other respiratory diseases. Once you understand your mood and what causes you to feel down or anxious, you can take steps to tackle it and take better control of your life.

The Pulmonary Rehabilitation and Community Respiratory Teams are trained to deal with the normal range of emotional difficulties associated with a longstanding lung condition. They will use a general
screening tool to assess your psychological health and may recommend that you are referred to our team for further support.

Improved management of stress and depression can help to support future changes to your physical and emotional health, and this may lower your risk of further chest infections.

An integrated service

NHS Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Talking Therapies works in an integrated way with other healthcare providers, working alongside and collaborating with GPs, with hospitals and with respiratory specialist nurses, physiotherapists and consultants.

We will help you recognise if you are experiencing depression or anxiety that might affect how you are managing your COPD. Therapists have training and experience in working with people with COPD and other physical health conditions and, together, we will be able to talk about the range of therapy options that would be most helpful and suitable for you.

Who is the service for?

The service is for people aged over 17 years who are normally resident in Cambridgeshire, Peterborough, Huntingdon or Fenland or who are registered with a GP in one of these areas. We do not have an upper age limit.

What else do we offer?

  • Interpretation services where required
  • Signposting to counselling, partner agencies and other services to support other needs such as return to employment
  • Face-to-face, telephone and online options

You will be able to talk about the range of options at your initial assessment and about what would be most suitable for your needs.

How long are the sessions?

Sessions can vary from around 35 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the type of treatment offered. The total number of sessions depends on patients’ needs, but we are a short-term therapy service.

How much does it cost?

As an NHS service, the treatments that we offer are free of charge.

Where will we see you?

Therapists with NHS Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Talking Therapies work in consultation rooms, GP surgeries, hospitals and community settings throughout the county.

What treatment will I receive?

The treatment that you will receive will be determined by your individual needs at the time of treatment. It will not be specified or chosen by external clinicians or agencies.

Waiting time

Please expect there to be a waiting time between your referral and receiving treatment. The waiting time will depend on location, the treatment recommended and current demand for the service. You can ask at your assessment for our best estimate of waiting times.

Is the service for everyone?

We try to be as inclusive as we can, but psychological therapy is not for everyone. Wanting to change is important. Our service may not be right for you if :

  • You have a history with mental health teams and a psychiatric diagnosis, such as serious mental illness or personality disorder.
  • You have a history of self harm or suicide attempts.
  • You have a history of abuse and if this issomething that you particularly want to focus on in therapy.

In the above cases, we would recommend a discussion with your GP who will be able to support your referral and look at the best options for you.

How do I access therapy from the service?

You may wish to discuss your difficulties with your GP or a member of the Cardiac Rehabilitation team who may refer you to the service. You may also refer yourself directly.

How can I refer myself?

We recommend referral in the first instance via our web page here: NHS Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Talking Therapies

Alternatively, call our self-referral team on 0300 300 0055 and they will guide you through the process. Let them know that you have a cardiac diagnosis. The line is open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Emergency contact details

If you feel you are experiencing a mental health crisis and need access to immediate help, please call our First Response Service on 111 and select the option for mental health. Other crisis numbers are available on our website here:

As a patient

As a patient, relative or carer using our services, sometimes you may need to turn to someone for help, advice, and support. 

Patient Advice and Liaison service  Contact the Trust