Special Interest remit within Talking Therapies Barking & Dagenham
Special Interest leads in IAPT work within the community and external service to ensure hard to reach groups are best supported and have access to psychological therapy.
Here at Talking Therapies Barking & Dagenham NELFT, we work diligently to improve and support the wellbeing of Veterans and their families. We pride ourselves in honouring the obligation of the Military Covenant, and referrals for Veterans are prioritised. We have experienced professionals that have a good understanding of the Military Culture and the needs of the Veterans community. With this experience and understanding, we provide a confidential non-judgemental safe space to talk. Whether you are finding it difficult to adjust to civilian life or you have been impacted physically or emotionally by the demands of serving our nation, we provide quality care embedded in our NELFT Values. At TTBD we also work with other specialist services to provide care and improve the welfare of Veterans. The services include Combat Stress, SSAFA and The Royal British Legion.
Long Term Health Conditions:
Two thirds of people with Long Term Health Conditions and around 70% of people with ‘Medically unexplained symptoms’ (MUS) [e.g. IBS, chronic fatigue, chronic pain] also present with symptoms of depression and anxiety disorders. There is strong research evidence which suggests that therapy for depression and anxiety has a positive impact on physical health difficulties. At Talking Therapies Barking & Dagenham, we provide flexible and evidence-based therapies individually, via group, and computer-assisted formats to patients who have been diagnosed with a long-term health conditions i.e. diabetes, cardiac, arthritis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, respiratory conditions. We understand that having a long-term health condition can have a serious or unpleasant impact on your day to day life. Seeing a therapist is helpful for many people to help them manage feelings of low mood, loss of control, anxieties related to the changes in physical condition, or sleeping difficulties. Our service continuously works in partnership with GPs and physical health primary care services to promote provisions of mental health support for patients with long term conditions. We manage negative thought processes by teaching patients how to alter these to facilitate a positive effect on mood, and lower the anxiety levels which have stemmed from the change in their physical health.
Looking after our physical health can really complement our mental health. At Talking Therapies Barking & Dagenham we like to look at things a little more holistically which is why we ask questions relating to your physical health, such as physical activity level and smoking status. We work closely with our Physical Activity Co-ordinator to be able to offer a referral pathway. We have a close working relationship with the LBBD Smoking Cessation team and have set up Stop Smoking clinics within our service. The clinics offer 1:1 support with a smoking advisor, setting a quit date and if required, Nicotine Replacement Therapy. Evidence suggests stopping or reducing the amount you smoke can dramatically improve your mental health and can actually help any prescribed mental health medications to work more effectively, enabling you to feel better, quicker. We realise that it might be a big ask to do this straight away, so the offer of support is available throughout your therapy with us.
Perinatal Mental Health:
Perinatal mental health problems are those which occur during pregnancy or in the first year after childbirth for both men and women. A wide range of perinatal mental conditions affect up to 20% of new and expectant mums. Our aim in the Perinatal Mental Health special interest group is to promote high quality, evidence based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy interventions. We aim to do this by enhancing knowledge, skills and the development of techniques, as well practical resources and support groups to support both mothers and fathers’ wellbeing and recovery. We also work closely with NELFT’s perinatal parent infant mental health service to support parents who require support suited to other services.
Hearing impairment creates a profound number of stressors and challenges for people. At Talking Therapies Barking & Dagenham we have been working closely with the Empowering Deaf Charity to run wellbeing and mental health awareness courses. The courses are highly successful, using video link and interpreters online. Feedback has included “what we need is knowledge in a format that is accessible, that is what these courses have offered”. We have close links with the auditory department at Queens’s Hospital, and can offer support to sufferers of Tinnitus. We use research based techniques of mindfulness and stress reduction to reduce the impact and anxiety associated with Tinnitus. We offer a range of support to maximise a person’s strengths and stay connected in challenging times.
Older Adults (aged 65 and over) & Carers:
At Talking Therapies Barking & Dagenham, we are committed to addressing the mental health needs of older adults so that they can have fulfilling lives. Our service would like to ensure that older adults (and their carers) receive necessary support for their mental wellbeing particularly in the light of the current pandemic, as we know that it has had a significant impact on the older adults population (e.g. prolonged self-isolation, anxiety around being a higher risk group). In our service we are able to adapt our work to meet older adults’ needs. This includes: telephone, group therapy or workshops, self-help materials on relaxation, or signposting to outside services specifically for older adults. We have close links to the Barking & Dagenham Carers Hub, as well as the council’s Healthy Lifestyles Team who provide exercise and activities for those aged over 60.
Black, Asian, & Minority Ethnic (BAME):
Here at Talking Therapies Barking & Dagenham, we know that mental health does not discriminate when it comes to race. Although there are a variety of ethnic groups benefitting from the support we offer, we are looking to increase the number of people from BAME groups accessing our service. We are currently doing this by forming close links with local faith groups (e.g. Barking and Dagenham Faith Forum) and offering psychoeducational classes to allow them to get a better understanding of mental health and know what support is out there. As a service, we try and adapt our therapy to the individual's needs and beliefs; if the clients want to improve their faith as part of their treatment, this will also be included in therapy. We offer interpreter appointments to ensure that people whose first language is not English still have access to support, and have translated materials so they can understand the information in more detail. As service, we receive feedback that we are welcoming when it comes to accessing therapy, and we want people to know that there is that support out there for them.
At Talking Therapies Barking & Dagenham, we encourage people with learning disabilities and learning difficulties to seek psychological support, if they have been feeling stressed, worried or down. Approximately 15% to 52% of individuals with learning disabilities experience mental health disorders and therefore, it is imperative that those with learning disabilities seek support. In therapy, we can support individuals with learning disabilities by making reasonable adjustments in the following ways:
•Giving people more time to explain and fill in forms
•Allowing family, friends to help in therapy
•Providing accessible, easy-read information
We understand that individuals with learning disabilities experience further disadvantages compared to the general population. In 2019, 43.6% of those with disabilities were economically inactive compared to 15.6% without disabilities. We can therefore signpost individuals to employment support, exercise support and referrals to local services and organisations that may be more suitable to their needs.
18-25s age group:
75% of mental health problems are established by the age of 24, and evidence suggests that by seeking support sooner, the impact of poor mental health during later years can be significantly reduced. At Talking Therapies Barking & Dagenham, we acknowledge that being a young adult is a time of discovery and transition for many, and with this can come symptoms of anxiety and low mood. Here are just some examples of ways in which we are currently supporting young adults:
•Student-specific online resources (Silvercloud)
•Frequent psychoeducational workshops
•Clinic space and initial consultations in universities and colleges
Furthermore, to provide a holistic approach to our patients’ care, we have good links with various community organisations, and work alongside the local colleges and university’s wellbeing services. We also regularly signpost young adults to employment support specifically for under 25s, as well as having an in-service Physical Activities Coordinator to encourage young people to get active. Lastly, as we recognise the significance of social media amongst 18-25 year olds, we regularly utilise this platform to reach out to this age group. Above all, we are continuously encouraging young people to seek help and break the stigma around mental health.