How to access private online counselling

After moving to uni, I found myself under a lot of stress and anxiety. Moving to a new city was a really scary experience, I lost a lot of my confidence and I was often calling home crying. When my mum suggested therapy, I thought this was a hugely scary and embarrassing prospect. The idea of sitting in front of a stranger and talking about my feelings, when I can hardly keep track myself, was not inviting. By chance, however, I got a leaflet through my door advertising a service that I could get from the NHS. It’s called IESO Health

This is an online counselling service, which allows you to speak to a professional therapist about whatever you are feeling at that point. It’s really important to talk to someone about how you’re feeling, especially when dealing with anxiety. I felt completely overwhelmed in my first term at uni, and so thought it might help to talk to an objective person, who would give me professional advice. 

I’ve only recently started using IESO Health, but I thought I’d let you know the process of signing up and what the sessions are like. It’s a really good service and excellent for people who are dealing with a huge array of problems, not just anxiety, but addictions, depressions and other mental health issues. 

Unfortunately, it is not available to the whole of England through the NHS at the moment, but the following areas are eligible:

Barnet (London Borough), Cambridge, Camden (London Borough), Croydon, CPFT Psychological Wellbeing Service, East Kent, East Riding of Yorkshire, Enfield and Haringey, Fenland, Hull, Huntingdon, Lincolnshire, Norfolk and Waveney, Pennine Care Healthy Minds Service, Peterborough, Somerset, Southwark, Surrey, West Kent, West Sussex, East Sussex, Mid Essex

You are able to either refer yourself, which is what I did, or you can be referred by your GP. When I joined Cardiff University, I changed my GP to one in Cardiff and so to access IESO, I had to fill in a temporary registration at my local GP in Surrey - so bear this in mind.

“ IESO Health can help with common mental health issues, whether you suffer with a mild or severe condition ”

If you refer yourself, you will be asked to fill in your details (these are kept confidential), and then you continue to a couple of questionnaires, where you are assessed about the problems that you want to target using therapy. You will then be asked to submit these. If there are any issues, they will contact you via your preferred method of contact, and you can choose for them to not leave voicemails if you share a phone and want information kept private.

After being given a professional therapist suited to your needs, you will be set a time and date for your first session. These can be at any time of the day and so will suit any schedule that you have no matter how busy you are. All you need to have these appointments is a computer, tablet or phone with internet access. 

Your chosen therapist will send you a few more questionnaires to fill out before your first appointment, so that they can get a better idea of your unique situation and emotions. I recently had my first appointment, which was half an hour long and involved a direct talk on a kind of chat-room. She asked what I wanted to focus on and what I worry about the most. We then scheduled my next appointment which would be the true start of my therapy and would last an hour.  

I’m still very in the early days using this, but I truly think that it will help me, and if not, I haven’t lost anything by speaking to someone about how I’m feeling. I like this service because its completely confidential, they will only report suicidal talk or if you say that you are harming yourself. It is also very relaxing as you can do it in the comfort of your own room, at a time that works for you. Speaking about how you feel can definitely be easier behind a keyboard and could help you feel happier and more positive. 

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Written by Emma Videan, 10 months ago
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