A collaborative, integrated service has led to almost 3,000 talking therapy sessions for patients across the Ards and North Down area.
The initiative, developed in partnership by the Ards and North Down Integrated Care Partnership committee, the South Eastern Trust, local GPs, the SE Local Commissioning Group, Ards and North Down Council and the Public Health Agency, followed discussions around the need to improve access to mental health services, especially in light of the impact of Covid-19 on the population’s wellbeing.
GP members highlighted the increasing numbers of patients presenting to primary care seeking support and the limited options available to them.
The partners then worked collaboratively to identify an integrated service for people with a range of conditions, including stress, anxiety and depression.
Short term funding from the Department of Health has facilitated GP referral to talking therapies, including cognitive behavioural therapy, counselling and life coaching.
Dr Kirsty McArthur, North Down ICP committee GP lead, said: “This is an excellent example of partnership working to respond to an immediate issue at a local level. The service is currently being evaluated, with measures in place to capture its impact. We hope to make this a sustainable long term service.”