25 May 2016
A positive step for carers in North Somerset
Step North Somerset's psychological therapies (IAPT)
service has helped more than 500 carers with therapy and support
since launching three years ago.
The service is jointly run between our Trust and charity Second
Step and is made up of 14 psychotherapists and 15 wellness
advisors, providing psychological therapies for people with common
mental health issues such as anxiety or panic, trauma, obsessions
Positive Step has a dedicated carers programme so support
carers. This was commissioned in 2013 following research which
indicated many of North Somerset's 20,000 carers were struggling to
Referrals have increased year upon year as closer ties with
local agencies have led to more carers getting the help they
Emphasis is on how support is offered as well as the therapy
itself. Those who need intensive help receive one-to-one support,
by phone or face-to-face. Carers are offered a course of workshops
or can do single workshops as and when required. This is important
for carers who have very little regular time to devote to
Former businessman and ex-Royal Marine reservist Nick was caring
for his wife of 48 years at home when he was put in touch with
"It came in the nick of time for me, to be honest," he said.
"I'd been looking after her for three years and it was just
completely soul destroying. I was completely mentally, physically
and spiritually exhausted."
With other carers, Nick learned how to manage his anxiety and
stress and was taught vital relaxation techniques which helped him
"Positive Step gave me the strength I needed to carry on. Even
just going along to the workshop for a couple of hours was
refreshing. It was very emotional too. The other people were also
carers and had similar problems, so we could all share. We knew
with empathy where they were coming from, even if they didn't have
Tim Kendall, NHS England's National Clinical Director for Mental
Health said, "Positive Step is really helping to take the pressure
off carers in North Somerset.
"Too often, we hear of carers struggling to carry the burden of
looking after loved ones, and yet a simple scheme such as this with
relatively minor changes to how therapies are delivered can make
all the difference in the world."
Senior Therapist at Positive Step Heather Dugmore said, "It's
not rocket science, but it's how you deliver and shape the service
for carers which can make a huge difference."
If you are a carer in North Somerset, you can refer yourself by
Positive Step directly. Referrals can also be made through your