Let’s Talk About Psychological Therapies is a Hafal initiative funded for three years by the Big Lottery People and Places Programme. Its purpose is to promote access to evidence based psychological (or talking) therapies for people within Wales with a serious mental illness.
Launched at the Senedd on World Mental Health Day, ‘Let’s Talk About Psychological Therapies’ has a number of innovative activities and services. These include the development of a Psychological Therapies Centre of Excellence Observatory, an Observatory Members Network, the design and development of user-friendly guides about talking therapies, the creation of dedicated web pages and forum where people can find information about the availability of talking therapies in their area, a number of training programmes for staff and interested groups, and the provision of feedback to LHBs about the therapies they provide, alongside up-to-date best practice case studies. ‘Let’s talk’ will also work with Welsh Government, the Mental Health Alliance and the We Need to Talk Coalition to focus on many of the issues outlined below:-
About Talking Therapies
The recommended form of treatment for the majority of mental illnesses is ‘dual therapy’ – which typically means medication in combination with an appropriate talking therapy (as recommended by NICE, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence). Many people who receive dual therapy describe it as ‘life changing’.
Evidence increasingly suggests the cost effectiveness of talking therapy, with improved patient outcomes for those who receive early access; often alleviating the negative impact mental illness can have on the individual, their family and the wider community.
Human & Monetary Cost
Without dual therapy interventions (medication in combination with talking therapies) peoples’ mental health can worsen when they face lengthy delays in accessing talking therapies. This can negatively impact on the human cost in terms of unnecessary pain and distress, and also increases the longer-term monetary cost of poor mental health (which in Wales is estimated to be £7.2 billion per year and rising).
People receiving secondary mental health services
People receiving secondary mental health services are likely to need specialist psychological interventions, but are also likely to have primary care needs too (anxiety, depression, etc).Therefore, people receiving secondary mental health services should have the full range of psychological interventions available to them in both secondary and primary care. A main priority for Hafal is for psychological therapies to be available to people who experience a psychotic illness before they become so ill that they need to be admitted to hospital. Also, when people are admitted to hospital they must receive psychological therapies as a priority as the longer they stay in hospital the greater the impact on their lives and the life of their families and carers.
Physical Health Costs
Swift access to talking therapies also offers the potential to reduce the demand on the physical healthcare budget. People with mental health problems are more likely to face a number of inequalities, including poorer physical health compared with the general population. People with a serious mental illness have twice the risk of diabetes (Royal College of Psychiatrists, 2013) and have three times the risk of dying of heart disease and a life expectancy of up to 20 years shorter.
Let’s Talk About Psychological Therapies supports the views of the BACP (the British Association of Counselling & Psychotherapy), in that we would like to see the commitment to a 28 day waiting time target for access to adult psychological therapy services, as outlined by Health and Social Services Minister Mark Drakeford on 3 November 2015 achieved.
Let’s Talk focuses on expanding choice of talking therapies. It is well established that the extent to which a person believes in the therapeutic approach impacts the outcome of their treatment. Yet despite this, recent survey data from England and Wales found that 70 per cent of people weren’t offered any choice in the type of therapy they received and 66 per cent said that no one had explained the different types of therapy to them at any point (Mind Cymru. 2016)
Welsh Language & Talking Therapy
The Welsh Government’s strategic framework for Welsh Language services, ‘More than Just Words’, and the mental health strategy both contain commitments to improving access to services through Welsh. Despite this, a recent survey found that only 8% of the Welsh speakers surveyed were ‘actively offered’ treatment through the Welsh language in line with Welsh Government commitments.
Additionally, Let’s Talk About Psychological Therapies wants to support the improvements in data collection and publication on waiting times and therapies delivered in Wales to help ensure that the most appropriate, evidence based, cost effective services are being delivered (as set out in the Wales Mental Health i Primary Care report 2015). This will help support best practice in terms of Waiting times and Choice.
New models for the delivery of ‘Talking Therapies’
The health and social care landscape is steadily changing. The convergence of the health and social care, information communications technology and telecommunications sectors are a few sectors providing centres for innovation helping to improve healthcare service delivery and the lives of people the world over. Let’s Talk About Psychological Therapies sets out to support and work with the Welsh Government, service users, carers and professional bodies with an interest in mental health to look at developing new models of delivery for Talking Therapies in Wales.
The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) is the leading professional body for counselling and psychotherapy in the UK. BACP has over 1800 members in Wales, and over 44,000 across the UK. The BACP recommends that the percentage of research funding should match the burden of mental illness in the population. Mental illness account for 23 per cent of the total burden of illness in the UK, but the proportion of health research spending that goes to mental health is just 5.5 per cent (2009/10 data). Within that, less than 15 per cent goes to researching psychological treatments.
Psychological Therapies Centre of Excellence Observatory
Under the Psychological Therapies Centre of Excellence Observatory Network Members and a dedicated team of service users and professionals will support the design and development of user-friendly guides about talking therapies, the creation of dedicated web pages and forum where people can find information about the availability of talking therapies in their area, a number of training programmes for staff and interested groups, and the provision of feedback to LHBs about the therapies they provide, alongside up-to-date best practice case studies.
As part of this innovative project,’ Let’s Talk’ is working with Local Health Boards, Professional counselling and psychotherapy organisations, and service users and their families to provide a regional map which sets out in detail the different forms of talking therapies that are available in Wales. The regional map will be updated on a daily basis. If you have any information about the types of talking therapies that are available in your area then please contact a member of the’ Let’s Talk’ team email firstname.lastname@example.org
You can get involved by becoming a member of Hafal’s psychological therapies national observatory network. Network members provide the observatory with information about psychological therapies in their area. This includes ‘what or who’ might have helped you or a family access talking therapies, and the location and contact details of different types of therapies available locally.
Meet the team: ‘Let’s Talk About Psychological Therapies’ brings together service users and carers, and others with an interest in mental health. This includes: Hafal, Hafal’s Expert Leadership Panel, and the Let’s Talk Team.
How to get involved?
There are a number of ways you can get involved with Let’s Talk. These include:
- Becoming a member of Hafal’s psychological therapies national observatory network and provide the observatory with information about psychological therapies in their area. This includes ‘what or who’ helped you or a family access talking therapies, or identifying the location and contact points of different types of therapies.
- Taking part in the talking therapies online forums which are available via Hafal’s CLIC service
- Signing up for talking therapies advocacy training. We will be delivering a series of advocacy training programmes to help people with a lived experience of mental illness and their families to be able to access talking therapies in their area.
- Signing up for the Let’s Talk professional training programme. This is designed for professionals who want to gain experience of delivering talking therapies to people with serious and enduring mental illness.
- If you have an interest in talking therapies you could support us in developing user friendly talking therapy guides.
If you would like further information about becoming involved in any of the activities outlined above then please contact Jason Celia.