02:09PM, Tuesday 03 November 2020
As the nation prepares to enter a new four-week lockdown, the Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is on-hand to offer mental health support to anyone who needs it.
Talking Therapies is Berkshire Healthcare’s primary care service supporting people struggling with mild to moderate anxiety and depression alongside stress and phobias.
“We also offer advice on sleep difficulties and long-term health conditions including people recovering from COVID-19,” said Alison Salvadori, head of Talking Therapies and consultant lead psychologist at Berkshire Healthcare.
During the pandemic the service has seen an increase in referrals particularly among people struggling with health anxiety and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
“If people have health anxiety it is likely to be made worse at the moment with the focus on ill health,” said Alison.
“People who have some form of OCD can also find symptoms are worse at the moment with fears of being contaminated,” she added.
Talking Therapies, which has been running a ‘seamless service all the way through the COVID-19 crisis’, offers a number of treatments.
This includes computerised Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), guided self-help where residents can speak with a therapist on a regular basis, one-to-one courses and individual counselling sessions spanning a period of weeks.
“We have thousands and thousands of referrals a year and we are noticing an increase but we are completely prepared to deal with that increase,” said Alison.
Berkshire Healthcare began piloting video consultations for Talking Therapies last year which enabled them to easily switch to online services in March.
“It’s been a very popular service,” said Alison, as many people have been happy to avoid travelling to and waiting for appointments and can seek help without risking exposure to COVID-19.
Alison also offered advice to residents about how to support their mental health ahead of the second national lockdown.
“Having a daily schedule, trying new things, have good mental health, good physical health and staying connected with others,” she said.
Talking Therapies is open to anyone aged 17 and over from 8am – 8pm on Monday to Thursday and 8am – 6pm on Friday and a GP referral is not needed.
The service can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org or 0300 365 2000.
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