Raising better awareness of local talking therapy service Access Sefton

Wednesday, March 6, 2019


Sefton has higher levels of poor mental wellbeing than many other areas of the country but from speaking to local people during different engagement exercises and activities, one of the emerging themes reported was that general awareness of services in Sefton that could help was low. This was reflected by the limited number of residents accessing Access Sefton, who we commission to provide a talking therapy service.

What people told us

When we speak with people at our Big Chat events and as part of other engagement activities, a reoccurring theme is the general lack of awareness and understanding of health services and the options available locally when they become ill, or when they would like support for their wider wellbeing. People often tell us they would benefit from an information campaign to highlight the help and support that is available to them locally.

“I was directed by mental health services to signpost a friend in need of support to their GP for referral, but at times people with mental health issues would not want to approach their usual GP for help. There is little information for someone in the area on self-referral. I had to search the internet to find out about local services on someone’s behalf but was still unsure whether they were suitable for them.”

How we responded

Working together with Access Sefton we came up with a joint communications strategy to raise better awareness of the service and signpost eligible residents seeking support for mental health conditions to it.

This strategy focused on increasing promotion of the service and the mental health conditions it helps to treat to members of the public through a number of communications channels including social media, screens in GP practices in the area and also via rolling presentations at our interactive Big Chat and public Annual General Meeting (AGM) event.

“The team at Access Sefton really appreciate the additional support we received from the communications and engagement team at NHS South Sefton/NHS Southport and Formby CCG over a 12 month period. With their support we were able to increase public awareness of our service which ultimately helped to improve overall referral figures by 25% from 598 in January 2018 to 747 in January 2019.” – Amanda Hampton, Service Lead.

Supporting information

You can find out more about the service here.

You can see an example of one of the social media messages here.

You can view the rolling presentation shown at our Big Chat 10 event here.

Watch a short video supporting the exercise

This video was shown on screens in Sefton GP surgeries to help create a better awareness of the talking therapy service Access Sefton to local residents.