Talking Change service offers remote mental health consultations
Talking Change, Portsmouth’s non urgent self-referral service for adults experiencing mental health problems, is promoting its remote access during the Covid-19 outbreak.
Whilst the coronavirus can affect physical health, it can also affect people’s mental wellbeing. With the added anxiety and stress from events surrounding this pandemic, there is an even greater need for people to be able to easily access mental health services. This is what makes Talking Change, a free NHS self-referral service for people experiencing non-emergency mental health concern, so vitally important.
As an addition to GP access and the NHS 111 emergency line, this free service for Portsmouth residents is currently running remotely, enabling people to use the phone, have video calls and access online-based therapies. Talking Change provides easy remote access to evidence-based therapies for common mental health problems such as low mood, stress, relationship problems, bereavement and loss, PTSD/trauma and anxiety disorder such as OCD, health anxiety and social phobia.
Through Solent NHS Trust partnership with Solent Mind, as part of the wider offer trained wellbeing advisors offer support via telephone and provide advice on a range of issues, including housing, money and work. With many of the Advisors having themselves had a lived experience of mental health, they can provide a listening ear, whilst helping people to access to a variety of tools to improve their wellbeing.
Mental health problems, including depression and anxiety are extremely common and can be linked to long term conditions, such as Diabetes and respiratory illnesses. Therapies offered by Talking Change are clinically proven to support people’s physical health, as well as their mental health.
Dr Mahdi Ghomi, Clinical Director and Consultant Psychologist at Solent NHS Trust, explained that Talking Change is supporting Portsmouth residents in a variety of ways, saying:
"We know from previous similar events, such as SARS, that there can be an impact on the mental wellbeing of the wider community. As we are all being challenged, it is important to recognise that a large part of our community is undergoing financial hardship and facing social difficulties.
"Self-isolation is impacting many of us and especially the most vulnerable members of the community. This, along with uncertainty about how we will return to normal after the outbreak, are all significant triggers to psychological and emotional difficulties. Within Portsmouth we have worked hard to ensure that people can still have access to the health services they need, including our self-referral service, Talking Change."
Solent NHS Trust is also working with partners Solent Mind and Portsmouth City Council to offer employment advice and support at this critical time, through the Positive Minds service. We also continue to provide mental health services in the community and on our inpatient wards.
Sue Harriman, Chief Executive at Solent NHS Trust, said: “The NHS is here to support your mental health during the coronavirus pandemic, as well as your physical health. We have adapted our services to ensure that we can continue to deliver care in the community whilst people remain at home.
"At this really difficult and uncertain time, everyone being able to easily access self-referral mental health services is more important than ever. I’d encourage anybody, living in Portsmouth, who is finding this time hard to make use of the services available, we continue to be here for you.“