1 February 2021
A York mental health Time to Change Champion who struggled with depression has praised the treatment he received from his local Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) service.
Rhys Harrison, 59, was overwhelmed by thoughts of suicide in 2018, following a trigger event that brought back memories of his mother’s traumatic death from a bleed on the brain two years previously.
Already aware of the IAPT service, also known as Talking Therapies, Rhys self-referred himself to the York service and started his treatment with an in-depth assessment with a consultant.
IAPT, also known as Talking Therapies, can help with common mental health problems such as stress, anxiety and depression. It’s open to anyone aged 16 or over, registered with a GP practice in York and Selby, who is experiencing mild to moderate symptoms of anxiety or depression.
Treatments and therapies vary according to individual needs but may include face to face virtual wellbeing sessions or computerised cognitive behavioural therapy (cCBT).
Rhys said: “Following an IAPT review of the assessment I was assigned a community psychiatric nurse (CPN), who was brilliant. I had support from her for nine months – initially once a week, then as my situation improved, we would meet fortnightly, and towards the end, we met once every four weeks.
“She developed a crisis recovery plan specific to me, my triggers, what works, what is unhelpful, and who to turn to if I feel I am entering a mental health crisis.
“Eventually I was able to write my own crisis plan that she reviewed, walked through with me, and approved. To this day, when my depression deepens, I refer to my crisis plan, and know when I need to contact my GP for support.
“As part of my IAPT Support, I was given a place on a mental health discharge group run by a consultant clinical psychologist. This was a group of people who were receiving talking therapies for various mental health conditions and were potentially ready to be discharged from the service.
“We shared experiences, learned from each other and learned more about mental health. We were eventually discharged from IAPT services with the skills and knowledge to look after our mental health going forward.”
Rhys is now part of the Community Time to Change York Champions Group that actively campaigns to end mental health stigma and discrimination in York.
Rhys continued: “It is so important to realise there is mental health support available locally, when you are overwhelmed by depression or thoughts of suicide, don’t be deterred by stigma or discrimination, speak to your GP. Take care, look after your mental health and stay safe.”
IAPT is provided by Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust (TEWV), who provide mental health and learning disability services in York and Selby.
The Trust recognise that the combination of dark winter nights and a national lockdown is inevitably impacting people’s mental health and resilience, with many people experiencing feelings of anxiety or depression for the first time.
For anyone who feels they need extra support, find out more by visiting https://yorkandselbyiapt.co.uk