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New mental health service in the heart of the city for people aged 65+

17th September 2014 | By Liz Mattock | Posted in

A joint mental health service to support patients over the age of 65 with depression, anxiety and low mood will launch during Older Person’s Month, this September.

The new service developed by Leicester City Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), as part of the Improving Access to Physiological Therapies (IAPT) programme*, will be delivered by Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust and hosted at Age UK premises in the heart of the city.

Older people who experience stress, anxiety and depression can contact the service themselves and will be offered both one-to-one and group support sessions.

Through engaging in conversations with patients, it was found that only a small number of older people are talking to their GP about low moods or feeling sad or depressed. The most common reasons given for not approaching their GP are; they don’t want to waste their doctor’s time or they think a change in mood is just a part of getting older.

Dr Durairaj Jawahar, lead GP for mental health and GP board member at Leicester City Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “It is important that older people feel they know who to turn to if they experience low mood, depression or anxiety and their GP will want to see them and to talk to them about their worries.

“The new service hosted at a convenient city location, which aims to improve the quality of life for older people and give them more choice on where they access services. It encourages them to seek support to safely manage their own conditions and enable them to continue their role within their own family and the wider community, particularly through part-time work and volunteering arranged by Age UK. The support the person receives will be through trained counsellors and cognitive behavioural psychotherapists from Nottinghamshire Healthcare and regular reports will be sent to the patient’s own GP to ensure their medical records are kept up to date and the GP has a full picture of their patient’s health and wellbeing.”

The new service is based at Age UK, Clarence House Building, 46 Humberstone Gate. Leicester, LE1 3PJ.

It is estimated that one in four older people aged over 65 will suffer from symptoms of depression at some point. In Leicester, approximately 3,400 older people aged over 65 will have depression or anxiety at any one point.

Dr Jawahar continued: “Is it believed that 25% of people over the age of 65 living in our community have symptoms of depression. We want to ensure that patients know how to ask for help when they need it, and that they have more choice about who they can speak to.”

Dr Maureen Tomeny, Clinical Director of Let’s Talk-wellbeing and Clinical Psychologist said: “Let’s Talk-Wellbeing, which is delivered by Nottinghamshire Healthcare, is delighted to be part of this exciting initiative to deliver psychological therapies,  specifically for older adults in Leicester city.  While people of all ages with mild to moderate difficulties can benefit from psychological therapies, older adults traditionally find it difficult to access these services.  We are therefore, pleased to increase access for older adults through the introduction of self- referral and supported self-referral, alongside the more traditional GP referral route”.

Tony Donovan, Executive Director of Age UK Leicester Shire and Rutland, said: “Age UK Leicester Shire and Rutland is delighted to host the new service at Clarence House. Approximately 800 people use the facilities here each day. It is a unique building, a major resource for older people and located in the heart of the city.”

For more information, guidance or support, get in touch with Age UK in confidence on 0116 2992233.

For more information on the improvements Leicester City Clinical Commissioning Group is making to mental health services in the city click here.


* The Improving Access to Physiological Therapies (IAPT) programme provides improved access to mental health support services for people who require the help and support of mental health services, particularly those patients with anxiety disorders and depression or low mood.

This service is additional to the IAPT ‘Open Mind’ service for all patients aged 18+ which is accessed by patients through their GP.

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