NHS Talking Therapies

Talking therapies, or psychological therapies, are effective and confidential treatments delivered by fully trained and accredited NHS practitioners. They can help with common mental health problems like stress, anxiety and depression.

NHS talking therapies – NHS (www.nhs.uk)

You can access talking therapies for free on the NHS.

You can refer yourself directly to an NHS talking therapies service without a referral from a GP, or a GP can refer you.

Help is available in person, by video, over the phone or as an online course.

Information:

There are also simple steps you can take to look after your mental health.

The Every Mind Matters website offers expert advice to help improve your wellbeing, as well as practical tips on sleep, coping with money worries and self-care.

What are talking therapies?

Talking therapies can help with common mental health problems like stress, anxiety and depression.

Which therapy you are offered depends on which one has been shown to be most helpful for your symptoms.

Here are a few examples:

  • Guided self-help – where a therapist coaches you as you work through a self-help course in your own time, either using a workbook or an online course.
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) – based on the idea that thoughts, feelings, what we do, and how our bodies feel physically, are all connected. CBT works to help us notice and challenge patterns of thoughts or behaviours so we can feel better.
  • Counselling for depression – a type of counselling developed for people with depression.

Talking therapies are offered in different ways, including:

  • using a self-help workbook with the support of a therapist
  • as an online course
  • one-to-one in person, over the phone or through video consultation
  • in a group

See more about talking therapies

 

What can talking therapies help with?

You do not need to have a diagnosed mental health problem to refer yourself to an NHS talking therapies service.

Getting support as soon as you start having difficulties can help to reduce their impact.

You may be:

  • feeling anxious
  • feeling low and hopeless
  • having panic attacks
  • finding it hard to cope with day-to-day life
  • struggling with flashbacks and nightmares
  • feeling stressed

Perhaps you’re finding it hard to cope with work, life or relationships.

Other things that talking therapies can help with include:

  • worrying
  • obsessive thoughts or behaviours
  • fear of social situations
  • trouble sleeping
  • phobias

If you’ve already been diagnosed with a mental health condition you can still refer yourself to an NHS talking therapies service, or a GP can refer you.

Talking therapies can also help if you have mental health problems resulting from other conditions, such as diabetes, cancer, long-term pain or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

 

What happens when you refer yourself

  1. Contact your local NHS talking therapies service.
  2. Someone from the service will get in touch, usually within a few weeks.
  3. They’ll ask for more details about the problems you’re having. This is known as an assessment.
  4. If the service thinks they can help you, they’ll recommend a therapy for you. This is based on your symptoms and how severe they are.
  5. Waiting times for the first session vary. The service will tell you what to expect.