Handover | Issue 37 – December 2016 – Talking therapies

Te Pou is excited to announce the launch of the Let’s get talking toolkit. Three years in the making, the Let’s get talking toolkit is a suite of tools to support health services to deliver effective talking therapies for mental health and addiction.

To celebrate this milestone Te Pou hosted a successful launch event in October. 

What's in the toolkit?

Let's get talking toolkit is a set of seven tools, available on the Te Pou website.

The Let’s get talking toolkit was developed in response to calls for better access to effective talking therapies from practitioners and people experiencing mental health and addiction issues.

Te Pou built on its previous work with talking therapies such as research from Talking Therapies: where to next? and the series of talking therapies guides for mental health and addiction, as well as on the strong international evidence base for the effectiveness of talking therapies.

This initiative also aligns with Rising to the Challenge: the Ministry of Health’s Mental Health and Addiction Service Development Plan 2012–2017, which encourages services to introduce a stepped care approach to meeting mental health and addiction needs.  It was great to have Dr John Crawshaw, chief advisor and director of mental health at the Ministry of Health, in the audience to show his support for the toolkit and talking therapies.

Stepped care aims to match the right type and level of therapy to a person, to help them achieve the best health gain. It aims to optimise the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of therapy.

The Let’s get talking toolkit enables services and health practitioners to plan and deliver talking therapies using a stepped care approach to promote:

  • easier and fair access to therapies, particularly for high need populations and cultural groups
  • efficiently delivering therapies to meet people’s needs
  • effectively practising evidence based therapies
  • evaluating therapy interventions to support best outcomes
  • optimising a skilled workforce mix.

Services and practitioners can use the toolkit to help determine which talking therapies are best for the people they work with, plus what knowledge and skills are needed to deliver these. Increased access to talking therapies is supported by a trained and skilled workforce across all health professions.

Nurses are a key part of this workforce in both secondary DHB sector and in primary care GP practices and NGOs. They play an increasing role in the provision of therapy interventions for mental health and addiction problems.

“Earlier intervention in the community, through talking therapies, is part of a stepped care approach that will reduce health care costs for New Zealand. It also reflects the sector’s move from a primarily treatment focused system, to more recovery oriented system,” said Robyn Shearer, chief executive of Te Pou.

Talking therapies and the stepped care model are now underway in many DHB secondary services, and future work will see this expand into the primary care sector where there is a high need for early and brief interventions. Guest speaker at the launch, Dr David Codyre, psychiatrist working in primary care further supported the high need for effective evidence based therapies for mental health and addiction issues.

In response to requests from general practitioners (GPs) for an easy to use tool to support brief interventions, Te Pou is trialling the BIR (brief intervention resource). This can be readily used by GPs and practice nurses working with people who are experiencing early signs of mental health or addiction challenges.

Maurein Betts and Petite Nathan from Manaia PHO in Northland shared their experience of trialling the BIR in rural GP practices. They found it enabled nurses to “have a deeper conversation with people that went beyond the sore leg or other physical complaint,” and discovered that intervening early really does make a difference for people.

Where to next?

The next phase of Let’s get talking is to encourage and support services and practitioners to use the toolkit to implement talking therapies as a core part of service delivery and to use the stepped care approach as a robust co-ordinated model across sectors. This will provide more treatment options, for much better outcomes for people who access mental health and addiction services anywhere along the health continuum.

Tina Earl, Te Pou talking therapies lead, is excited to see the work come to life. “Completing the toolkit is a personal highlight for me and I’m looking forward to promoting the use of the tools in health.”

Get in touch

We would like to hear what is happening in your service to promote effective talking therapy delivery and stepped care. Get in touch with Tina by email.