Truro is first in country to launch mental health therapy from Boots store
THERAPY for people with depression and anxiety is now available on the high street in Truro in a UK first.
The new talking therapy service – called BeMe – was launched in Boots on Pydar Street.
Health experts hope locating the free, NHS-funded service in the high street will encourage more people to seek help, with similar schemes rolled out across Cornwall over the next six months.
Neill Richardson, BeMe's clinical lead, said: "This is really innovative. Typically you would get therapy in your GP surgery or in a health establishment but not everybody wants to go to their GP.
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"Having a mental health problem is traditionally seen as something you don't want to talk about. This enables us to take therapy out to the high street so it can be a part of everyday life."
The scheme, organised by the Cornwall Foundation Trust, is believed to be the first time in the UK that an NHS group has teamed up with a private company such as Boots.
Isabelle Lindsey-Clark, the service lead for BeMe, said: "It is all about offering a talking therapy that gives clients the knowledge around the issue and skills for overcoming them."
The sort of problems dealt with could include general anxiety disorder (GAD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The scheme could also help people with specific phobias such as fear of flying or arachnophobia, or issues such as bereavement or losing a job. People can refer themselves to the service.
"It's about normalising common mental health issues and seeing that early intervention can be really helpful," said Mrs Lindsey-Clark.
Cornwall Foundation Trust hopes to operate from rooms at the Jobcentre Plus from April.
Barbara May, Boots in Truro store manager, said: "As far as I'm aware this is the first service of its kind in a pharmacy in the country. I think it enhances the services we already provide. This is a pilot and if successful may be rolled out to other stores."
The service will be available every Tuesday and Wednesday from 9am to 1pm. Call 01579 373700 for details.