NHS Talking Therapies

With two thirds of Black people worried about their mental health, new poll shows that seeking professional support can make a difference

A new poll by NHS England has found that two thirds (66%) of people from Black communities have felt concerned about their mental health in the last year*. In fact, just under 2 in 5 (39%) of those asked, said that they have experienced depression, and over a quarter (27%) have experienced generalised anxiety disorder.

However, the responses also reveal that over three quarters (77%) of those from the Black community who have accessed professional help for an anxiety disorder or depression said they saw an improvement in their mental health**.

The NHS is encouraging anyone struggling with feelings of depression, or anxiety such as excessive worry, panic attacks, social anxiety, post-traumatic stress, or obsessions and compulsions, to seek help through NHS Talking Therapies services. These are effective, confidential and free treatments delivered by trained clinicians, online, on the phone, or in person. Anyone struggling with feelings of depression or anxiety can seek help through an NHS Talking Therapies service and get back on track.

Taking care of your mental health is a vital part of overall health, but it is something that can sometimes be a struggle to talk about with family and friends – and this can be a particular issue for men in the community. Talking Therapies can offer the opportunity to discuss your difficulties with someone who you don’t know, providing a welcome outlet for many people.

Sharon Black

Sharon Black, Senior Counsellor and IPT Lead Interpersonal Psychotherapist and accredited Talking Therapies clinician said: 

Often in our community we prefer ‘not to talk about it’ – but that’s not helpful for our mental health. Anxiety and depression can take a bigger toll on our lives than we might like to admit, and talking to a trained professional can really help. We’re here to support you and to give you an outlet to discuss issues that you might not want to raise with your friends and family. You don’t even have to go to your GP to get referred to Talking Therapies; you can simply self-refer online.

Nicholas Pinnock

Nicholas Pinnock, actor, and producer said: 

When I first experienced depression, I found it hard to articulate what was happening to me and just dismissed this feeling of numbing sadness as a dark spell everybody went through. Discussing mental illness was not something my community or anyone I knew spoke about when I was in my early 30s and you would think I’d have known about such things at that time in my life but even then, I wasn’t equipped with the knowledge to understand that I needed help.    
It’s important to me to support initiatives such as Talking Therapies. As I believe speaking with a professional, when you’re struggling with a mental ailment, can provide the necessary tools and processes to help get you through each day. Seeking therapeutic support not only helped me, I believe it saved my life.

When asked in the survey, over half (57%) of Black people did not know that they could refer themselves to NHS Talking Therapies online to access treatment for anxiety and depression***.

You don’t need to have a diagnosed mental health problem to refer yourself to an NHS Talking Therapies service, and you can choose whether to refer yourself online, or to ask your GP to refer you. For those whose first language is not English, talking therapies can be delivered through multi-lingual therapists or through confidential interpreters. The service is available for anyone over 18 who is registered with a GP.

Dr Chinea Eziefula

Dr Chinea Eziefula Clinical psychologist for NHS Talking Therapies within the North London Mental Health Partnership & Regional clinical lead for NHS Talking Therapies long-term physical health conditions pathways, NHS England: 

“I’ve seen many people over the years who have struggled privately with depression or anxiety for long periods before seeking help, or who haven’t known where to go to seek help with their mental health initially. Talking to a trained professional as part of the NHS Talking Therapies for anxiety and depression programme can help you learn to cope with these common experiences – our therapists are trained to be culturally sensitive and respectful, while maintaining personal privacy as required. We have helped many people over the years, and we want to help you to discover how best to help yourself in the long-term. Talking therapies can provide you with tools and knowledge that you can continue to use time and time again.”

NHS Talking Therapies can help provide support and treatment for common mental health problems, such as:

  • feeling anxious
  • feeling low and hopeless
  • having panic attacks
  • finding it hard to cope with work, life or relationships
  • struggling with flashbacks or nightmares about upsetting events from your past
  • feeling stressed
  • worrying a lot
  • obsessive thoughts or behaviours
  • fear of social situations
  • being afraid of things, such as spiders, flying or heights (phobias)

Your GP can refer you for NHS Talking Therapies, or you can refer yourself online at nhs.uk/talk.

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