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People experiencing anxiety and depression this Christmas encouraged to seek help through talking therapy

North Yorkshire GPs are urging residents to seek help if the strains of Christmas begin to take a toll on mental health.

With the pressure to socialise, temptation to overindulge and finances stretched, this can be a particularly stressful time of year.

The inclement winter weather and dark days mean it can also be especially difficult for people who are alone or have been bereaved.

NHS Scarborough and Ryedale Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is encouraging residents to refer themselves to an NHS talking therapy service in North Yorkshire known as IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies), if they feel they are at a low ebb.

Dr Peter Billingsley, Associate Chair of NHS Scarborough and Ryedale Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and the clinical lead on mental health, said: “We know that the winter and festive period is particularly challenging for people who experience mental health difficulties. If you, or someone you care for, start to feel the need for mental health support, you can contact the IAPT service directly which means you don’t have to see your GP first.

“We also think it’s important for patients to know that the IAPT service is not a crisis or urgent response service for people who are severely unwell. You should always dial 999 in a medical emergency, call NHS 111 for any urgent concerns or ring your local GP practice if you feel IAPT is not for you and you are looking for alternative support.

“You can also visit www.tewv.nhs.uk/IAPTNYorks to find contact details for your local crisis support team.”

One in four people will experience difficulties in their mental health at some point in their lives. Significant events or a build-up of stresses such as work place problems, a change in life circumstances, a traumatic event or a specific phobia could lead to difficulties managing mental wellbeing. Problems with low mood, depression and anxiety can develop and make it difficult for us to cope with life’s daily demands.

IAPT can support people experiencing mild to moderate difficulties with any of the following:

  • depression
  • anxiety and worry
  • panic attacks
  • health anxiety
  • social phobia
  • specific phobias
  • post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

Andrew Wright, North Yorkshire IAPT Service Manager with the Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust said: “To make sure IAPT is right for you, you will be offered a focused initial assessment over the phone, (alternative arrangements can be made if required).

“At the end of the assessment you will be directed to the most appropriate support for your needs. This might include guided self-learning, attending a psychoeducational course, computerised guided self-help, or in some cases cognitive behavioural therapy.

“If you would prefer to discuss things with your GP first, please make an appointment. Your GP can also help you refer to IAPT, or to a suitable alternative.”

IAPT is a national NHS programme to increase the availability of talking therapy treatments recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) to treat anxiety and depression.

More information can be found here: www.tewv.nhs.uk/IAPTNYorks, or dial 01947 899270 if you are a patient registered at a GP practice in the NHS Scarborough and Ryedale CCG area.

Local IAPT service contact details for patient self-referrals:

Northallerton, Gibraltar House, Thurston Road, Northallerton, DL6 2NA
01609 768890

Whitby (also for NHS Scarborough and Ryedale CCG patients), Whitby Hospital, Springhill, Whitby, YO21 1EE
01947 899270

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