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Number of patients self-referring to a mental health support service has doubled

The number of patients referring themselves for mental health support in Leicester has doubled since the city’s Open Mind service began taking self-referrals last year, and figures are still rising.

Patients have been able to contact the service directly to get an appointment at a time and place to suit them. This means patients are experiencing benefits such as convenient appointment times and an initial assessment over the telephone. The assessment can be done anywhere and at any time to suit them resulting in the patient getting the support they need quicker than ever before.

The announcement coincides with National Suicide Prevention Day on Sunday September 10, which this year focuses on letting people know that ‘it’s okay to talk’.

The Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) Open Mind service, funded by Leicester City Clinical Commissioning Group and provided by Nottinghamshire Healthcare is now taking more than 300 self-referrals per month, double the amount since the service started in April 2016.

These are from Leicester City patients who are experiencing mild depression, anxiety and stress as well as phobias and other mental health problems. GPs can also make referrals into the service.
Previously patients would need to make an appointment to see their GP and wait for a referral for an assessment of their mental health symptoms, before being provided with the most appropriate help and support to suit their needs. Self-referring means patients feel more in control and informed about their care.

Open Mind provides psychological assessment and treatment for what are known as mild to moderate common mental health problems, which 1 in 4 people will experience at some stage in their lives.

Following the patient referring themselves, a member of the Open Mind service will contact the patient. This will involve a short assessment over the telephone, of how the person is feeling and what is happening in their environment. An Open Mind therapist will work with them to understand what the problem is and to agree the next steps.

Together, with the therapist, a programme of support and self-help activities that match their individual need will be put in place. This may include online support, face to face therapy or group talking therapies.

Dr Avinashi Prasad, co-chair and lead GP for mental health services at Leicester City Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “This service is already available across most parts of the country, so we are now bringing services in the city in line with the rest of the UK. The majority of these people are still managing to go about their daily routine, going to work, running the family home, but they just need that extra bit of support to manage a stressful period or event.

“It is great news that people who live with ongoing mild depression, anxiety and stress can get the support they need even easier than before, choosing appointments times and venues to suit them. We are working closely with Nottinghamshire Healthcare to make access to mental health support services much easier for people in Leicester City.”

Therapies delivered by the IAPT services are based on guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

Claire Thompson, Operational Manager for IAPT services at Nottinghamshire Healthcare, said: “It is normal to experience changes in your mood and behaviour at times of stress and emotional upset. Your physical health may also affect your mood and stress levels. If these changes continue to affect you, then the Open Mind service could help.

“We provide specialised skilled and accredited practitioners who are able to provide psychological therapies (talking therapies) for people experiencing common difficulties including depression, anxiety, panic, phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), trauma and stress.”

To access support from Open Mind patients must be registered with a GP practice in Leicester City and aged 16 or over. Patients can self-refer by completing an online self-referral form at or call a member of the Open Mind service on 0116 2927010. Patients can also contact their GP who may arrange a referral to Open Mind. Find out more on the Open Mind page of this website.

Alternatively email to contact someone who can take your details and arrange an appointment for you. Clinics are available in many places across the City. Please state where you would prefer to be seen.



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