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italk, the psychological therapy service run by Solent Mind and Southern Health attended recent Eastleigh Mela with a number of special guests.

The service, which provides guided self-help and talking therapies for people across Hampshire brought a number of Pets As Therapy (PAT) dogs to help them interact with people at the festival. Therapy dogs are used to help lower stress and anxiety and at the Mela, italk used them as an icebreaker to talk to people about these issues and the services that they provide to help people who might be experiencing problems.

With mental health problems being under-reported in many Black and Minority Ethnic communities, italk was at the MELA to help raise awareness amongst the local Asian population. A number of practitioners were on hand to give people advice on the treatments that the service offers and how they can help with problems such as insomnia, stress, depression and anxiety. With mental health still having a stigma attached to it in many communities it was important for italk to be at the festival to help break down the barrier and provide information for those who needed it.

Julie Blackler, Head of the Step 2 service at italk said: “At italk we can help with most common issues such as stress, depression, anxiety and even insomnia. We offer a number of different ways to help people who are experiencing these difficulties, from 1-2-1 Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to group workshops.”

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