Here is a fantastic guest post by Toby Chelms!
What to expect when accessing NHS mental health support in Leeds
I work for the Leeds NHS Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) service as a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist (through the charity Leeds Counselling). Within my role I conduct screening appointments for people who feel that they might benefit from accessing some mental health support. These sessions can be daunting for many people, most have just called a number or been referred by their GP with little knowledge of what lies ahead. I therefore thought it might be useful to explain a bit about what these meetings are and what might happen following them.
Within Leeds there are many mental health support services available, some of these are via the NHS or local charities, some of these are free to access, some have a cost or donation involved, some have short waiting times, others significantly longer; some might be close to where you live, others further afield; some might specialise in specific areas, others might be more broad. As you can see from that (very) garbled sentence, accessing the right support for you can be rather overwhelming and can often be enough to put you off seeking it and this is where a screening session can be very useful. The purpose of an initial screening is for the person conducting the session (who will be a Therapist from the IAPT Team) to get a better idea of the problems that you are currently experiencing and to use that information to present you with a filtered set of options which would be most useful for you and to also answer any questions that you might have about the next stages of treatment.
To access a screening session you just need to call 0113 8434388, you will then be booked in for an initial session (times can vary based on your flexibility of days and location). This initial session can last anywhere from 25-50 minutes and will involve working through some set questions around your current experience of issues, lifestyle and might also involve the completion of some relevant health questionnaires. At the end of this session you will be able to use the Therapist’s guidance to make a decision on which route you would like to go down (and there is no pressure to take any route at all).
In terms of routes available via the IAPT service, in Leeds we are able to offer Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Guided Self-Help (GSH), Interpersonal Therapy (IPT), Counselling for Depression, Groups for Stress Management or Low Moods and Computerised CBT (CCBT). We are also able to help signpost you to services such as the Community Mental Health Team, Drug and Alcohol services and many other local organisations who might be more targeted towards your current needs (for example Cruse for Bereavement or Relate for relationship counselling).
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact the IAPT service on the above number and hopefully one of the team will be able to help.