The team helping those in Carluke with mental health problems have themselves been seeing psychologists for over a year the Gazette can reveal.
However, it hasn’t been a case of the Carluke Mental Health Team suffering from their own work-related stress but rather finding out how best to get their patients the help they need more quickly and efficiently.
Over the past year they have been taking part in their own consultation ‘clinics’ with their colleagues in the Clydesdale Psychological Therapies Team at Carluke Health Centre in order to reduce the number of inappropriate referrals from the mental health to psychology teams.
The project was introduced following the establishment of the Scottish Government’s mental health access improvement support team (MHAIST), which supports health boards to improve the quality and accessibility of appropriate assessment and therapy services for everyone requiring them.
Dr Simon Stuart, clinical psychologist lead, said: “The help we’ve had from MHAIST has made all the difference between simply getting the project off the ground and actually embedding it in practice.”
The Clydesdale project involves two psychologists offering drop-in clinics where staff including nurses, psychiatrists and social workers can discuss cases.
It has seen benefits for staff and patients alike, such as ensuring people receive the right intervention at the right time, improving integration between different aspects of people’s mental health and social care, increasing staff confidence, and compassion and providing effective leadership to ensure high-quality care.
In Clydesdale alone, there are usually between 40 and 50 referrals a month for psychological therapy.
Referrals are received from GPs and the Mental Health Team for patients with conditions ranging from mild anxiety – for which a class such as stress control might be indicated – through to severe and enduring difficulties requiring longer-term individual therapy.
The consultation clinics help ensure that Mental Health Team’s atients are getting the right psychological support at the right time.
Dr Stuart added: “One of the things that’s made a big difference is having Dr Heather Jamieson, counselling psychologist, come on board. She has made such a contribution to the project.
“I’m proud of what we have achieved and keen to explore how we can build on the good work of the Psychological Therapies Team.”