Over £2 million is being invested into mental health support for people in Suffolk with long-term health conditions

28 March 2019, 15:50 | Updated: 28 March 2019, 15:53


People in Suffolk with long-term health conditions will be getting £2.6 million investment in mental health services.

The money is going to improve access for people living with long-term physical health conditions, when getting support for conditions like depression and anxiety disorders.
It means 43 new staff will be recruited including cognitive behavioural therapists and psychological wellbeing practitioners.
They will be based at GP practices, community health centres and hospitals, with  patients experiencing depression or anxiety able to refer themselves or be referred by their usual healthcare professional to dedicated Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) support.
Dr John Hague, a GP in Ipswich and mental health lead for NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Grouptold Heart:
"As new evidence continues to support the better integration of physical and mental health care services, this focus on mental wellbeing provision for those with a long-term health condition is an important step forward in treating a person’s mental and physical health as one.
Those with a long-term health condition are more likely to have a mental health issue than the general population.  If their mental health condition is left untreated there is evidence to show it will very likely adversely affect their physical health.
By helping these people access the support and treatment they need we can not only improve their physical and mental wellbeing and quality of life, but also reduce the number of hospital admissions and healthcare interventions and ease the pressure on our already over-burdened NHS staff and finances."
Funding for the expansion of the IAPT service was agreed this week by the governing bodies of NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk and NHS West Suffolk clinical commissioning groups.
Clinical Lead for Wellbeing Suffolk, Nesta Reeve told Heart:
"We are really pleased to have the go-ahead to start to recruit staff to build an expanded service with the aim that in time whenever people are identified as having a long-term physical condition their emotional needs will be met alongside their physical needs.
This will be part of a whole system change to how we work in Suffolk, involving a more collaborative approach to healthcare, providing a joined up approach to care so people feel they can manage well both physically and emotionally with their long-term physical condition."
An estimated 40% of people with depression and anxiety disorder also have a long term physical condition. Initially the initiative will target those living with  diabetes, chronic heart disease and COPD.
It aims to deliver a better co-ordinated approach to physical and mental health care.