Huge boost for Suffolk mental healthcare

A MOVE to offer talking therapies to people with depression in Suffolk has been hailed as one of the most important changes to healthcare in the county.

A MOVE to offer talking therapies to people with depression in Suffolk has been hailed as one of the most important changes to healthcare in the county.

Thousands of people will be helped by the scheme which offers psychological therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy as part of an NHS programme.

Mark Halladay, chief executive of Suffolk Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust, said he was thrilled with the move, which is being rolled out in Suffolk before many other parts of the country.

He said: “This really is a huge step forward.

“It is the most exciting thing that has happened in mental healthcare for a number of years and as such it is one of the most important things that has happened in healthcare in Suffolk.

“It could help the general mental health of the population so much.”

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Mr Halladay said 70 therapists had been employed to provide the counselling and that after the scheme started running more than 300 referrals were received from GPs in the county in December alone.

It is hoped the service will lead to a dramatic improvement in the mental health of people in Suffolk, particularly people who do not need more serious treatment.

Dr Peter Bradley, Suffolk's director of public health, said: “We are launching a big expansion of talking therapies. They are for people with anxiety or depression who want an alternative to drugs.

“It is a national programme but we are one of the leading areas. What makes us ahead of many places is that we are launching it in 2009, before many others.”

Has therapy helped you? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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