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Mental health hub launched in response to pandemic helped more than 5,000 people

Siobhan Cowie and consultant psychologist Simon Lloyd picked up the 2021 Care for Mental Health award at the Scottish Health Awards.
Siobhan Cowie and consultant psychologist Simon Lloyd picked up the 2021 Care for Mental Health award at the Scottish Health Awards.

More than 5,000 people across the north-east have benefitted from a service bypassing their GP to get rapid mental health help.

NHS Grampian launched the Psychological Resilience Hub in March 2020, at a time when services were massively stretched by the pandemic.

Open to members of the public as well as health and social care staff, it let them self-refer to receive specialist psychological support.

It has now closed to new referrals after two years – having helped thousands of people and scooping two national awards in the process.

Many accessed support during difficult time

Siobhan Cowie, who was the service’s support manager, said there had been a clear demand during the early days of the pandemic.

The initiative meant people didn’t have to wait for a GP consultation, so could be seen by a clinician faster.

However, as restrictions began to ease, referral rates began to drop – to the level where the service is no longer necessary.

Siobhan said: “We were seeing less and less demand for the service, which is really positive.

“It shows that the support has been in place, and we’ve actually done a good job that we can step away again.”

Some mental health wards in Aberdeen have reached full capacity, amid a surge in Covid-related cases.

The Psychological Resilience Hub has won two awards as well.

The team picked up the care for mental health gong at the Scottish Health Awards, and was named most inspiring or innovative project at the Quality Improvement Awards.

What happens if I need support?

Before the service was disbanded, a patient would get up to three calls with a clinician.

And if they’d been signposted for further support, they would be given advice on how to support their mental health.

People would get help via telephone or Near Me video link, including directions to wider self-help and other digital therapies.

Although the hub is now closed to new referrals, Siobhan emphasises there is still support available.

“Although this is one small service, support is absolutely still available for people,” she added.

A variety of resources, advice, and information are accessible via NHS Inform or contacting your GP for specific care.

Alternative resources and advice are still available on the Grampian Psychological Hub website.

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