People across the Black Country who are struggling with anxiety are being reminded of how NHS Talking Therapies can provide support this Mental Health Awareness Week.

Anxiety can often be a natural response to life but can become a problem if it begins to get in the way of day to day living.

Mental Health Awareness Week, which takes place 15-21 May, is nationally shining a spotlight on anxiety and ways to get help.

Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is using the week to highlight NHS Talking Therapies services which are available to residents aged over 18 in Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton.

NHS Talking Therapies use practical talking therapies based on an individual’s needs and is a practical and effective way for people to manage their mental health difficulties.

The service is completely free and people refer themselves for help or can be referred by their GP.

Trained, professional therapists use methods such as guided self-help and cognitive behavioural therapy through a range of one-to-one appointments, group work, phone or video consultation.

NHS Talking Therapies were previously known as IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) but this year the service has been renamed to better reflect the service it provides.

It is hoped the new name, which has been rolled out nationally, will make the service more recognisable so more people can access the help they need for issues such as anxiety and depression.

Marcus Leonard, who leads the service at Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “If you feel like anxiety is taking over your life, NHS Talking Therapies could help you.

“Anxiety affects us all to varying degrees, but if it is stopping you from living your life, it’s important to seek help.

“You may not even realise anxiety is affecting you, but if you have feelings of dread, panic and worry that you cannot control, these are all signs of anxiety.

“NHS Talking Therapies are free, confidential and can help with issues such as generalised anxiety, social anxiety, panic and agoraphobia.

“The service may have a new name but it is just as easy to access help. You can refer yourself, online or via phone, or you can be referred by your GP.

“The service is designed to help people with mild to moderate mental health difficulties, so please don’t avoid getting in touch if you’re concerned your issue isn’t ‘serious’ enough.

“We can help to give you the tools to manage your anxiety, helping to avoid the need for more intense intervention later down the line.

“Whatever the cause of your anxiety, no-one should struggle alone so please do reach out for help if you need it.”

NHS Talking Therapies can be accessed in the following ways:

  • People in Walsall should call NHS Walsall Talking Therapies on 0800 953 0995
  • If you live in Sandwell and need support, contact NHS Sandwell Talking Therapies on 0303 033 9903
  • Residents in Wolverhampton should contact NHS Wolverhampton Talking Therapies on 0800 923 0222.
  • In Dudley, people should call 0800 953 0404 to access NHS Dudley Talking Therapies.