Psychological help in the bus queue

A novel service that allows people to phone a therapist at a time and place convenient for them in order to get advice about common problems such as anxiety and depression is being discussed today at the Annual Conference of our Division of Clinical Psychology in Birmingham.

Dr Jim White is giving a paper on ‘Call-back’, the latest addition to a successful primary care project called STEPS which serves a deprived area of inner-city Glasgow. He is the director of STEPS and a Fellow of the British Psychological Society.

Individuals can leave their details on a dedicated phone line. A clinician rings back the same day, and offers advice and access to other parts of the service if appropriate. Satisfied clients include people who spoke to the therapist during their lunch hour, or while their children took a nap, or in one case while waiting for the bus.

Nearly 2000 calls have been received since Call-back was set up in September 2008. The majority of people say they are highly satisfied with the service, which offers an accessible alternative to visiting the GP.

Dr White says: “This is a simple and highly effective self-referral approach, which is reaching people in some of the most deprived postcode areas. We believe that other primary care teams should be adopting it as well.”

Read more on the BBC News website.