The Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Wellbeing Service is an improving access to psychological therapies (IAPT) service that delivers a range of evidence-based psychological therapies for people with common problems such as anxiety disorders and depression.
The service has therapists with additional training who specialise in working with people who are anxious or depressed and also have a long term physical health condition – for example, diabetes, respiratory illness, chronic pain, cancer and more recently, symptoms of Long Covid.
Self-referral to the service is now even easier with online self-referral via the service’s website. The only requirement to access IAPT services is that you are aged over 16 and are registered with a Staffordshire GP. Telephone appointments, video consultations and face-to-face appointments are available.
Andy is a previous user of the service who has a diagnosis of Autism. He asked for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) because he was spending most of his days worrying about his health and dying. This was exacerbated by the lockdown and not being able to attend his usual support groups and GP’s surgery.
His therapist helped Andy to formulate a map of his thoughts, feelings and behaviours about his health and talked about how they were increasing his anxiety and fear of death. Andy and his therapist also talked about his Autism.
Following treatment, Andy still has some health anxiety, but he now has techniques and methods he can use when the worries become excessive. His general anxiety scores are within range and he is no longer spending lots of time worrying about death. Instead he has put mindfulness, writing and making music into his daily routine.
Andy said, “I was very impressed that my therapist listened to my concerns and gave me useful techniques to combat my health anxieties. They fully took into account my autism which, in previous experiences, has been a problem for the therapist. This time it was spot on and they worked alongside my autism to give useful coping techniques. My therapist was wonderful.”
You can find out more about Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Wellbeing Service (IAPT) and self-refer to the service online at www.staffsandstokewellbeing.nhs.uk Self-referrals can also be made by calling the service on 0300 303 0923 (Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm).