Talking Back to Happiness

Do you talk to yourself?  At one time this was regarded as a sure sign of madness.  Fortunately we now have a much better idea of the nature of mental health problems and how to treat them.  The causes of mental health issues are complex and so there cannot be solutions that work for everyone.  However, talking does seem to be one way of treating mental illness successfully for many people.

NHS England provides free talking therapy programmes.  In Farnham and North East Hampshire the service is provided by TalkPlus.   This is part of the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme, providing support to people with common mental health problems in North East Hampshire and Farnham.

You can be referred to TalkPlus by your GP or you can refer yourself by completing the on-line form which can be found at  If you don’t have Internet access and want to know more, you can call TalkPlus on 01252 533355.

So, what sorts of issues do therapists face?

Citizens Advice recently conducted an online survey of 244 mental health practitioners from the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme across England.  The survey results revealed that:

-nearly all (98%) of respondents said they had dealt with non-health related problems during an appointment in the previous month,

-8 out of 10 mental health staff said that dealing with a patient’s practical issues had left them with less time to treat clinical mental health issues,

-over half (57%) reported the proportion of time they are spending on non-health issues has increased compared to last year.

To summarise, highly trained mental health staff are having to spend time dealing with debt and money problems, unemployment and work, housing and welfare issues on behalf of their patients – time they should be using to treat clinical mental health issues.    Citizens Advice is calling for advice services to be integrated in more mental health settings to alleviate the pressure on frontline mental health staff and to better support the needs of people with mental health problems.

So far, 72 local Citizens Advice have partnered with NHS mental health services to deliver integrated mental health and advice services.  This means that CAB advisers deal with things like

  • budgeting or debt management plans,
  • contacting public services/agencies on the patient’s behalf,
  • providing supporting letters,
  • assisting patients to complete benefits applications and
  • contacting creditors on the patient’s behalf

This would allow leaving specialist mental health staff with a lot more time to treat the patient’s mental health problems.  Citizens Advice helped over 100,000 people who reported having a mental health problem in 201

For more information and advice on how to deal with Debt, Benefits, Work, Consumer Issues, Relationships, Housing, Law and Rights, Education, Discrimination, Tax and Healthcare you can

  • call 0344 848 7969 to speak to an assessor or make an appointment to talk to an adviser face-to face. (calls to this service cost the same as calling 01 and 02 numbers included as part of a mobile allowance or a landline call package.
  • visit to access our comprehensive range of information and advice
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