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Birmingham and Solihull Mental health NHS Foundation Trust
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Talking therapies service celebrates first anniversary

Published: 26/09/2014

Birmingham Healthy Minds is celebrating the first anniversary of its successful “talking therapies” service which reaches out to people from the city’s super-diversity of communities who have common mental health problems. 

The Amman walk-in service, which runs at two health centres in Birmingham, was one of the first services of its kind in the country when it launched in September 2013.

In its first 12 months more than 400 people have sought help from the service for every-day mental health problems including low mood, depression, stress and anxiety. The service includes information, advice and cognitive behavioural therapy which helps people identify thoughts, emotions and behaviour patterns they may wish to change.

The Amman walk-in service is provided by the Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust as part of its Birmingham Healthy Minds service and is open to anyone over the age of 16 who is registered with a GP practice in Birmingham. 

Kully Ingram, Partnership Manager for Birmingham Healthy Minds, said: “We offer support to people experiencing problems such as anxiety, low confidence or self-esteem, depression, low mood and stress. These problems can be experienced by any of us, are extremely common, and are usually caused by everyday life difficulties relating to family, work, study and personal issues.

“Amman means ‘peace and tranquillity’ in Punjabi and ‘faith’ in Urdu and the service was designed around this concept.  We also decided to develop it as a walk-in service after noting that many people from our diverse range of communities preferred to just come along and didn’t mind waiting to be seen rather than be given an appointment date and time if it meant they could be seen sooner. 

“Having a walk-in style improves access for people in the community because they can literally walk into the clinic without an appointment or a referral and be seen by a mental health practitioner from Birmingham Healthy Minds.” 

She added: “We also ensure we have qualified practitioners that reflect the population we serve and our staff have a good understanding of faith and cultural issues and can speak the main languages of Punjabi, Urdu, Bengali and Hindi.

“We were among the first in the country to set up this kind of service and it is proving very successful with fantastic feedback from service users.  GPs have also stated how pleased they are that patients can be seen face-to-face and so quickly.”
Weekly Amman walk-in sessions are held at the Sparkhill Primary Care Centre, which is based on the Stratford Road in Sparkhill, and at the Soho Road Health Centre, Soho Road, Handsworth. 

Feedback has shown that people using the walk-in service felt their concerns had been taken seriously by staff and that the service had helped them better understand and address their difficulties. They also stated staff had involved them in making decisions about their treatment and care. 

Comments received from Amman service users include: “The fact that I was able to talk to someone who has the same faith as me but more importantly someone who is able to give me a religious perspective has really helped me,” and: “I felt I could talk about anything and not feel uncomfortable about it,” and:” You could just walk in and see someone, excellent.”

People can refer themselves to Birmingham Healthy Minds by phoning, texting or emailing Birmingham Healthy Minds, or by using the Amman Walk-In service, or they can be referred by their Birmingham GP. 

For more information or to self-refer, call Birmingham Healthy Minds on 0121 301 2525, Monday to Friday 9.30am-4.30pm; or text BHM to 60777; or email via the website  www.birminghamhealthyminds.org