Mental Health and Wellbeing: Counselling and Talking Therapies

How to access talking therapies (such as counselling and CBT) and self-help resources around difficulties including low mood, anxiety, trauma, bereavement, long Covid and domestic abuse.

We all have mental health and research shows that around 1 in 4 of us will struggle with our mental health each year. There is always support and help available, whether it’s finding someone to talk to, accessing support in the workplace or finding self-help information.

 Please see information under ‘Where to get Urgent Support in a Mental Health Crisis’ if there is a risk to yours or anyone else’s safety.

There are a number of ways of accessing support. If you are unsure which of the options may be best suited to your needs please do get in contact with us via [email protected]

I Would Like to Access Counselling

Counselling is a talking therapy that involves a trained therapist listening to you and helping you find ways to deal with emotional issues. You’ll be encouraged to talk about your feelings and emotions and the therapist will listen and support you to find your own solutions to problems. They do not usually give advice or tell you what to do.

For more information, see: Counselling – NHS (


  • Our Employee Assistance Programme offers comprehensive support that is free and confidential to ALL staff.
  • They can offer up to six sessions of counselling (face-to-face, telephone or virtual) with fully qualified and experienced counsellors.
  • To self-refer call 03303 800658 (or Freephone 0800 023 9324) or visit


British Medical Association:

  • All doctors and medical students can access a free and confidential 24 hour counselling and peer support helpline on 0330 1231245.
  • BMA members, plus their partners and dependents (aged 16-24 and in full time education) can also access up to 6 sessions of free counselling.

Royal College of Nursing:

I Would Like to Access Talking Therapies, such as CBT

The services below tend to offer a clinical assessment and access to evidence-based talking therapies, depending on the type of support you need. All services are separate and confidential from your organisation and can be accessed via self-referral. Services differ slightly according to your place of work and home address, so are given according to area below.

The services offer a range of evidence-based therapies, including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), which is a talking therapy that can help you manage your problems by changing the way you think and behave. It’s most commonly used to treat anxiety and depression, but can be used for other physical and mental health difficulties.

For more information, see: Overview – Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) – NHS (

Staff Wellbeing Hubs

  • West Yorkshire Staff Support Hub: For colleagues living and working in the West Yorkshire area. Offers a range of support including workshops, self-help resources, wellbeing calls and individual psychological therapy. For more information or to make a self-referral visit or call 0800 183 1488.


NHS Talking Therapies for Anxiety and Depression (previously known as ‘IAPT’):

  • ‘Talking therapies, or psychological therapies, are effective and confidential treatments delivered by fully trained and accredited NHS practitioners. They can help if you’re struggling with things like feelings of depression, excessive worry, social anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).’
  • If you have access to an NHS staff wellbeing hub (see above) it is likely that wait times will be shorter than for NHS Talking Therapies, so it is recommended that you try that route of referral first.
  • How to refer: You can be referred by your GP or you can make a self-referral by finding your local service here and following the instructions: Find an NHS talking therapies services – NHS ( After making a referral you will be contacted to arrange a time for an initial assessment.


  • Here for all nurses, midwives, healthcare support workers, students, nursing associates and the friends and family of such staff.
  • Free, confidential, UK-wide and peer-led.
  • Chat with another nurse or midwife who gets it.
  • Space to offload and decompress.
  • All volunteers trained in support skills.

  • Confidential psychological support service for people working in NHS services across the UK. Psychological support and therapy around a range of presenting difficulties including worry, anxiety and panic, sleep difficulties, low mood and trauma.
  • For more information and to make a self-referral visit: Free and confidential service for frontline workers – Frontline19


Project 5: 1-to-1 support

  • Project 5 offers a free wellbeing support service to health and social care workers. You can book up to three sessions of coaching or wellbeing support via video or phone with an experienced coach or therapist. See Get Support (
  • Doctors and Dentists
  • Practitioner Health: free NHS service for doctors and dentists (and some other health professionals) with mental health difficulties and/or problems with addiction who are working or looking to return to clinical practice. They offer a confidential assessment and treatment service alongside other information and advice. Visit Practitioner Health for more information and to make a self-referral.
  • Take Time: For doctors and dentists in training within the Yorkshire and Humber region only only.


I Would Like Support Following Bereavement

  • Vivup: Our Employee Assistance Programme can provide support for a range of issues including bereavement. To self-refer call 03303 800658 (or Freephone 0800 023 9324) or visit
  • NHS Bereavement Support Line, 0300 303 4434: Free and confidential support line open 8-8pm 7 days a week. Offers support with bereavement and wellbeing issues relating to loss experienced through work. You will be offered up to three sessions with the same counsellor and onward signposting or support.
  • Cruse Bereavement Support: Cruse offer a range of specialist support around grief and loss, including helpful information sheets, a helpline (call 0808 808 1677, Mon-Fri 9.30am-3pm) and 1:1 counselling support around grief and loss. Local branches often offer group support sessions. For more information, see Home – Cruse Bereavement Support.


I Would Like Support Around Long Covid

If you are recovering from Covid-19 you may still be coming to terms with the impact of the virus on both your body and mind. While this should get better over time, some things may take longer and there are things you can do to help.

  • Your Covid Recovery Website:Provides lots of useful information and advice on what to expect and how to help. It includes a section for family, friends and carers of someone who may be struggling with the after effects of Covid-19. See
  • Long Covid Support: Peer support and advocacy group for people living with Long Covid, containing lots of useful resources and help. See


I Would Like Support Around Domestic Abuse

Domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone. It is never OK, never your fault and there is help and support available. If you’re not sure that what you’re experiencing is abuse, it probably is and it’s time to reach out to talk to someone. Try to confide in a friend or trusted colleague.

If you or someone else is in immediate danger, please call 999 and ask for the police.

  • National Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0808 2000 247 (24 hr)
  • Bright Sky app: This is a free app providing support and information for anyone who may be in an abusive relationship or those concerned about someone they know. Search ‘Bright Sky’ in the app store on your mobile phone.
  • Women’s Aid: National charity working to end domestic abuse against women and children. They provide local support services, training for organisations and information if you are worried about someone else. They also have a live chat
  • Galop: Provides hate crime, domestic abuse and sexual violence support services to lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans+ victims/survivors by telephone, email, text and WhatsApp. See Galop – the LGBT+ anti-abuse charity or call 0800 999 5428.
  • IDAS: Specialist domestic abuse and sexual abuse charity in Yorkshire and has a range of free and confidential services including the provision of safe accommodation, 1:1 and group support and a confidential helpline (N Yorks: 03000 110 110). Services are open to anyone living in North Yorkshire, Barnsley and Sheffield. See IDAS for more information.

I Would Like to Access Self-Help Resources:

  • Vivup, our employee assistance programme, has downloadable self-help booklets for a wide range of presenting problems, including anxiety, depression, coping with bereavement and managing sleep problems. These booklets are also available in an easy read format and as audiobooks. Visit for more information.
  • Reading Well Scheme: You can access the Reading Well scheme via your local library, which includes a range of books chosen by health experts and people with lived experience of mental health difficulties aiming to help you to better understand and manage your health and wellbeing. Books can be loaned from your local library and many are available as e-books and audiobooks.
  • Wellbeing apps: NHS colleagues have been given free access to a number of wellbeing apps to support them. For the most up to date information see: NHS England » Wellbeing apps