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Your mental health matters - Hounslow IAPT

13 May 2015

It is so important to realise that there is always help at hand if you are struggling with your mental health and if you need somewhere to turn to.

Hounslow Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) is a service that provides free talking therapy and employment support for people over the age of 18 who are registered with a GP in the Borough of Hounslow.

The IAPT team provide a wide range of talking therapies for people who are experiencing difficulties with stress or low mood, worry or anxiety. Most people seen in the service attend one of the courses or workshops that the service runs on improving self-confidence, fighting fear or improving wellbeing, or have some guided self-help sessions, which involves working through a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) book relating to your current difficulties. The service also offers individual CBT and counselling, as well as couples counselling.

People often think that waiting times for mental health appointments are long but with IAPT, waiting times are fairly short and you can get an appointment within 3 weeks. The service runs sessions and workshops across the borough from Chiswick to Feltham, and aims to be as flexible as possible to meet the needs of the local people.

The service has recently launched two new initiatives: Live Therapy and Stress Control courses. Live therapy, which is run in partnership with the Big White Wall, is a web based therapy service, used in a similar way to Skype, which enables people to do one-to-one therapy from their own homes. It can also be used as a starting point for treatment for people who have difficulty leaving the house or for those who might be nervous about seeing a therapist. The Big White Wall also offers an interactive online support network and guided support courses.

The IAPT team started running Stress Control courses on Tuesday evenings at the Paul Robeson Theatre in Hounslow in January. There are six sessions in each course and people can self-refer directly via the service website. The course is run in a lecture style format which means that there is no discussion of personal problems; you can just come and along and see if you can pick up some useful tips and strategies for managing stress.

The feedback from the previous course was positive, one person who took part said, “I have found this very helpful, look forward to coming as it puts me in a more positive mind set and reading through hand outs during week helps me to keep things in perspective.” The next courses start on 26 May, 21 July and 29 September.

Removing stigma surrounding mental health is so important and one of the main benefits of Hounslow IAPT is the option to self-refer. You don’t need to go to your GP to be referred to any of these services – you can find out more about the service via the service website (www.hounslowiapt.nhs.uk) and refer yourself online by completing a short referral form.