MORE than 26,000 people in Warrington have been identified as having a common mental health problem, according to latest figures.
The Warrington Primary Care Psychological Service, which has moved into new premises on Bewsey Street to meet the demand, believe a 49 per cent referral increase is down to a number of factors including better screening.
Emma Weighill-Baskerville, head of client services and clinical lead, said: “Within Warrington there are 26,239 people identified as having a common mental health problem.
“This figure does not tell us the severity of the illness or its social impact but it does tell us that there are a lot of people in Warrington who could use some sort of psychological support.
“As a service we analyse our demographic data and work hard in the community to promote psychological support in hard to reach minority groups, people who would find it difficult to access the help for a mental illness owed to cultural, language or access barriers.”
Mental Health Matters runs the Warrington service which treats everything from mild depression to anxiety attacks that prevent patients from leaving the house.
They added nationally people are becoming more aware of mental illness and are getting better at talking about it to each other and their GP.
Miss Weighill-Baskerville added: “Depression and anxiety if left untreated can cause severe debilitating effects on people’s lives, affecting all aspects of physical health, work and family relationships.
“Overall I think the Warrington population are getting better at identifying when they need support and realising that treatment for depression or anxiety is the same as seeking treatment for a psychical health problem.
“Stigma around mental illness is improving and mental wellness is far more attractive.”
Residents can self-refer to the free NHS service by calling 401720 or visit warringtoniapt.org.uk and mentalhealthmatters.com.
ONE Birchwood mum has found the service has made a huge difference to her life after showing symptoms of post traumatic stress when her baby was born two months early.
Charlotte Haworth said she would wake up in the night sweating after having flashbacks and nightmares over being stuck in the hospital and unable to get out.
She was referred to the service when her daughter Becky was six months old and said writing down her experiences made a huge difference.
The 34-year-old added: “It was my first child and a stressful birth which meant I had to spend 10 days in hospital in Salford.
“It’s overwhelming becoming a parent and hard enough anyway but I hadn’t got a pram or cot or even into the mindset of being a mum.
“I had just moved from Manchester so I felt isolated but then started going to Sure Start and then Bosom Buddies referred me to Mental Health Matters to give me a bit more support.
“I was in floods of tears after I told them what I had been through but it was good to be given a reason why I was experiencing the flashbacks.
“You don’t recover from those things overnight but it’s about recognising things that could be triggers and I built a really good rapport with my therapist.
“I think there is a stigma attached to mental health and people get this image you’re going to be locked away if you’re depressed but it’s not like that at all.
“On Facebook everyone gives the impression they’re trying to be a super mum and new mums are expected to get on with it but it’s a very difficult time and people who need help shouldn’t be afraid to ask.”