It’s good to talk, we’re told. Mind has been campaigning for more investment in “talking therapies” for many years and, judging by the recent roll out of the IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) programme, with considerable success. In fact we called our IAPT service in Hampshire “iTalk”. We could equally have named it iListen, and of course the benefits of talking rather depend on who’s listening, and how they’re responding to what we’re saying. But “italk” it is. More than 4000 people a year are now benefitting from the service, with local outcomes exceeding national targets by some distance. And the majority of people receive our low intensity service by telephone, so in a setting on their terms and of their choosing.
Self evidently, talking therapies no longer depend on 2 people sitting in the same room. They don’t even need two people. Computerised CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy), in which the therapy is in the programme, has been with us for the last decade. And with therapy by text now a serious subject for research, talking therapies will need to find another name.
But the ease with which CBT can be delivered should not mask the point that real social contact is a vital component of good mental health. It’s what the people who use our services tell us repeatedly. So while there’s good reason why modern mental health services should be time-limited and focussed, our new wellbeing services in Hampshire will also be encouraging people to access social and friendship groups, even if we are not running them within the wellbeing centres.
And that’s why we’ve designated World Mental Health Day on 10th October Get Talking Day and are asking people to take 10 minutes out of their day to sit down and talk to the people around. In the process, maybe you could raise some money for Solent Mind.
Enjoy your conversations!