Handover | Issue 32, October 2015 – Primary mental health focus

Let’s get talking is a set of tools developed by Te Pou to support primary and secondary health services in Aotearoa New Zealand to deliver effective talking therapies using a stepped care approach.

A stepped care approach to talking therapies

Stepped care is an approach aimed at matching the right therapy to a person at the right time to help them achieve the best health gain. The level of the person’s distress or problem indicates the level of intervention, and a person may move to a different step (level) of care as their needs change.

In New Zealand primary care delivers the majority of services for common mental health issues. As it is the first point of contact for most people it has an important role to play in the early detection and treatment of people with mental health and addiction problems, to improve their lives and reduce demand for specialist services. The GP practice mainly sees people at level 1 of stepped care, early presentation of problems, and level 2, mild to moderate presentations. The aim is to use resources available to the GP practice such as brief interventions and low intensity therapy to relieve distress and build resilience. However, there is an increase in people presenting with moderate to severe problems who may be referred on to PHOs and community practitioners for more intensive therapy.

The Let’s get talking toolkit consists of seven tools to support planning and delivery of talking therapies using a stepped care approach. The first four of these tools where recently released and are available on the Te Pou website.
1. Introductory video: a stepped care approach to talking therapies.
2. Planning: for delivery of talking therapies.
3. Skills survey: identify strengths and areas for development in talking therapies delivery.
4. Assessment: how to match talking therapies to peoples’ needs.

The following three tools will be released later this year.
5. Therapy: a guide to evidence-based talking therapies and brief interventions.
6. Review: use of outcome measures for effective therapy practice.
7. Practice support: information on competencies, training and supervision for delivering talking therapies.

Visit the talking therapies page of our website for more information and to download the tools.