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Birmingham and Solihull Mental health NHS Foundation Trust
Better Together

A choice of languages improves access to mental health services in Birmingham

Published: 16/11/2016

Our Trust’s walk-in centres have seen an increase in people accessing free and confidential NHS support and advice to help with common mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, stress or feeling low in mood at centres offering a choice of service in different languages. Over 650 people have visited an Amman walk-in Centre in the past six months and been seen by a mental health practitioner who speak a range of different languages.

The Amman walk-in services are located at Soho Road Health Centre and Sparkhill Primary Care Centre. They provide NHS talking therapies by professionals from the Trust’s Birmingham Healthy Minds service who can support people in Punjabi, Mirpuri, Urdu and Bengali, in addition to English.

Joanne Gill, Consultant Clinical Lead, Birmingham Healthy Minds, said: “The feeling of not being able to cope, for whatever reason, is always difficult to talk about and we aim to make access to our psychological therapy services as easy as possible by breaking down any known barriers that people may have, such as language issues.

“We are aware that people from different backgrounds may find it hard to take the initial step and in 2013, we introduced professional support provided in different languages at two of our six walk-in centres with positive results.

“I am delighted to see a significant increase in the number of people, both men and women, accessing support via our Amman walk-in centres this year. We will continue to listen to feedback and provide support in ways that breaks down any barrier that prevents people accessing vital NHS support to improve mental health.

Birmingham Healthy Minds is an NHS primary care psychological therapies service, part of the national Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme, that works closely with Birmingham GPs. The service offers advice, information and brief psychological talking therapies for people aged 16 and over, who are often feeling anxious, low in mood or depressed.  In the 2015/16 financial year more than 18,000 people in Birmingham received help from Birmingham Healthy Minds.

Birmingham Healthy Minds operate walk-in centres across Birmingham on various days and times in Sparkhill, Soho Road, Selly Oak, Kingstanding, Northfield and Walmley. The centres are designed to help people access support and treatment that provide essential skills to self-manage symptoms through a range of interventions, without a prior appointment.

Amman walk-in centres are open on various days, at different times, and further details can be found on the Trust’s website at www.bsmhft.nhs.uk or call 0121 301 2525 for more information.

As well as Amman walk-in centres, psychological services are also available through a pre-booked appointment, at a time and place convenient for you, and interpreters can be arranged. You can contact the Birmingham Healthy Minds team directly on 0121 301 2525 (between 9.30am and 4.30pm, Monday to Friday, excluding Bank Holidays), emailing* the team at BHM@bsmhft.nhs.uk, texting** ‘BHM’ to 60777 or by using the online referral form at www.birminghamhealthyminds.org where there are also many self-help advice booklets to download. Alternately, talk to your GP.