MORE cash is coming to help with mental health treatment in the county as referrals for conditions such as anxiety and depression reach around 150 a month.

The funding has been awarded to the 2gether NHS Foundation Trust – which provides social and mental healthcare services in Gloucestershire and Herefordshire – and will widen options to access help and information.

Seriously debilitating for the sufferer, anxiety and depression are the most common forms of neurotic health problems but access to new courses will increase the chance of people finding the help they need.

Rachel Parham-Connolly, clinical team lead of 2gether’s improving access to psychological therapies (IAPT) team, said: “We’re currently in the process of taking on some additional staff, although a good number of those will be training initially to build their skills.

“Then, within a few weeks we will be opening up the service of self-referrals for courses. There is a programme to suit a whole range of different people.”

The level one course – emotional wellbeing – is a five-session course, geared towards anxiety and is for people who can make use of self help materials and need little assistance themselves.

There is also a six-week course specifically geared towards anxiety and management of stress and anxiety, and an eight-week course for depression – whether it is the first time or recurrent episodes.

There is still a huge stigma attached to suffering with an anxiety disorder and Anxiety UK’s study found that 28 per cent of sufferers were ashamed of their condition – 21 per cent slightly and seven per cent very.

Some 57 per cent of sufferers sought no help at all for their condition but these courses will endeavour to bridge that gap.

“We hope people will take them up as an opportunity to get more information and also to build up a support network and not feel so alone and isolated,”

Rachel said.

People will be able to access these courses over the phone and in time there are hopes that a website will be created especially for the self referrals.

The long-term aim is that people will be able to self-refer for other things.

The self-referrals will also help to meet the new government targets for 2013 to 2014 which require IAPT services to increase their access rates to 12.5 per cent of the target population of patients with common mental health problems.

This will see a significant jump from the current 6.5 per cent access rate.