Services and Professional Support

Mental health care

The NHS provides free mental health services, although for some services you will need to be referred by a GP. There are some services where you can self-refer. For example, IAPT psychological therapy services and services for alcohol or drug problems.

Stress at work

If you think your mental health problem is linked to or made worse by work stress, you can speak to your employer to find out what services are available to you through occupational health. The website Time to Change has a section for employers.

Managing your mental health difficulties

The NHS offers many different services for people with all kinds of mental health difficulties.

One of the services offered is the IAPT service. This is the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies and is a service that began in 2008. The launch of this service transformed how depression and anxiety are treated. One of the great things about IAPT is that you can self-refer. This can even be done over the telephone, which for a lot of people is a much easier first step to getting help than an initial face-to-face visit with the GP.

IAPT is an umbrella service of sorts as it is used to guide people to the appropriate treatment for them.

IAPT works out what is best for its patients and works on ‘steps’. Step 1, for example, is about recognising and assessing depressive symptoms at the first point of contact. This could be by a GP or nurse. If symptoms continue, service users will go to Step 2, which offers higher-level interventions that have different intensities and lengths. The types of treatment in Step 2 include low-intensity psychological services such as cCBT (Computerised Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) and CBT in a group session. Step 3 has more intense treatment options like counselling and CBT.

Other services available in the United Kingdom

There are lots of charities and services available to people in the UK who are struggling with their mental health. The Samaritans operate a service that is free and is available 24/7, 365 days a year. It is a service that is confidential. You can call them on 116 123 or visit their website. Their volunteers are trained to deal with people with a variety of conditions, especially those who are having a mental health crisis or who are feeling suicidal.

Choosing a mental health service

Individuals who go to their GP with a mental health concern will be assessed and offered advice or treatment, depending on individual circumstances. GPs can refer people to psychological therapies and specialist services.

There is a range of services for individual needs. Services can be provided at GP surgeries, at local health centres or in specialist mental health clinics and hospitals.

Services can be provided in a group setting or on a one-to-one basis. Sometimes, families and partners can take part in sessions too.

When individuals are referred from their GP, they have the right to choose their clinical team and provider for the first outpatient appoint.