04 December 2018

Minster for Suicide Prevention visits mental health trust

Minster for Suicide Prevention visits mental health trust

Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership (AWP) NHS Trust has welcomed the Minister for Suicide Prevention, Jackie Doyle-Price MP.

The Minister met with staff and service users at the Lift Psychology Service in Swindon.

The LIFT Psychology Service attempts to strengthen mental health services between primary and secondary care for people with more complex mental health needs. Its success is based upon offering an interventions led, inclusive open access service for people to self-refer to. 

Working in this way means that over 600 people can be seen per month with total waiting times for appointments at a maximum of 3-4 weeks. Offering psychological interventions which incorporate NHS England's Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme, alongside other effective treatments, means that LIFT can offer support to a wide range of people presenting with a range of mental health difficulties. 

The Minister was given a tour of the facilities and discussed the current service model, transformation challenges and service development across primary and secondary care.

AWP's Chief Executive, Dr Hayley Richards, said: "For those experiencing mental health problems, getting the right support at the right time can be crucial to recovery. So to have the Minister visit and recognise the success of the programme along with the team's hard work is a really positive step."

Clinical Psychologist, Dr Alex Stirzaker, said: "We were delighted to welcome the Minister to see our service, meet the team and hear from service users about their experiences.

"Working with people early on with their mental health difficulties helps them to manage their difficulties more effectively and means that they feel more able to cope with the challenges which many of us face. This has been a great opportunity to showcase the work we are doing and demonstrate the positive impact it has on people's lives.

Jackie Doyle-Price, Minister for Mental Health, Inequalities and Suicide Prevention, said: "It is vital that the NHS provides the most appropriate mental health care to patients as early on as possible and I was very impressed to see how the team here is helping patients manage their more complex mental health conditions in primary care. 

"I heard first hand today about the difference the Lift Psychology service has made to service users, and how the hard work and dedication of the team is enabling some remarkable stories of recovery."

The NHS target states that 75 percent of IAPT service users should have their first treatment within six weeks of referral and 95 percent within 18 weeks.

In May this year, more than 99 percent of service users in Swindon were given an appointment within six weeks.

Dr Stirzaker continued: "If you think you may benefit from IAPT services you can access some of them via your GP or directly yourself. For more information, visit www.awp.nhs.uk/services/specialist/primary-care-psychology-services/?tabid=14148."


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