18 December 2014
A new service to help support Islanders living with mild to moderate mental health difficulties is now in place.
Jersey Talking Therapies (JTT), which is funded by the Health and Social Services Department, is now running in most GP practices and it also has a town-based “hub” in St Helier. It is for people aged 18 and over.
Referrals to the new service began in September, and 740 referrals have been received so far, mainly from GPs, with an average of 54 referrals a week. To date, a total of 154 people have been successfully discharged, while others are receiving ongoing therapy.
Range of psychological therapies for common problems
The aim of JTT is to offer Islanders a service staffed with professionally trained therapists who will support them through a range of psychological therapies. Common mental health problems which someone might seek treatment for include:
- obsessive compulsive disorder
- alcohol-related issues
- post-traumatic stress disorder
There are eight Psychological therapists and five Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners involved in JTT. Services include courses on a number of topics such as how to overcome anxiety and depression, access to computerised cognitive behaviour therapy at home and a self-help book prescription service run with the local library. This is in addition to one-to-one therapy, which is generally face-to-face although there is also a phone option for mild difficulties. Workshops are scheduled to begin in 2015 on a range of topics such as how to overcome difficulties with sleep, panic, stress and others.
Director of Counselling and Psychotherapy for the States of Jersey, Dr Tracy Wade said “We are pleased with both the support that JTT has received from GP colleagues, and the feedback from those who have used the service. It has been well used and supported since its recent launch. We want to offer a flexible and accessible service to those who need it.”
Joint project with GPs and MIND Jersey
JTT is a joint project between Health and Social Services, GPs and the charity MIND Jersey and is part of the campaign to remove the stigma associated with mental health issues. The launch of the service is part of ongoing work by the Health and Social Services Department, with other partners, to redesign health and social care services for Islanders, as outlined in the 2012 consultation paper ‘Caring for Each Other, Caring for Ourselves.’
The topic of mental health, and ensuring that mental health services are accessible to Islanders, were important themes in the consultation document.
The Minister for Health and Social Services, Senator Andrew Green, said
“I’m very pleased to see Jersey Talking Therapies getting established and already it is making a difference, providing the right type of therapy at the right time in the right place, either face-to-face or over the phone.
“By offering services outside of the hospital setting, the stigma of seeking help for a mental health issue will be further reduced.”
The approximate waiting time from referral to assessment (although there is some variance between surgeries depending on number of referrals received) is currently between two and four weeks, with a further wait of similar length for ongoing therapy.