Competition Results 2013

World Mental Health Day Competition results

Mayden Competition - World Mental Health day logoThis year world mental health day focussed on the mental health and wellbeing of those in later life. To coincide with this worldwide awareness raising event, we decided to give away two free tickets to the New Savoy Partnership conference to the person who gave us the best overall response to these two questions:

  1. What do you think are the biggest causes for low uptake of psychological therapies in older adults?
  2. What types of engagement initiatives do you think could help improve access rates for older people?

The competition is now closed, and the winner has been notified – but we thought it would be beneficial to share with you all a summary of the responses we received. We received a huge amount of responses in the time the competition was open, but we were surprised not only at the general agreement for the reasons behind poor engagement, but also the similarities that emerged in the ideas around how to resolve these.

Your responses…. How do we increase access to IAPT for older people?

The most frequently identified obstacles can be broken down into three categories; accessibility, attitudes/education of patients and education for other healthcare professionals.

Attitudes toward ‘mental health’ and treatment in general

  • The stigma of ‘mental health’
  • Having a “stiff upper lip” or “just get on with it” mentality
  • Not wanting to “waste time”
  • Thinking that NHS resources are better spent on the young
  • The misconception that being ‘down’ is just part of growing old (eg life experiences, loss of loved ones, deteriorating health etc)
  • Fear of being “locked up” or losing independence

Accessibility of services

  • Problems with mobility and travel
  • The cost of travel
  • Telephone booking/triage often inappropriate due to hearing loss

Problems with signposting/referrals

  • GPs more inclined to deal with physical illness (easier to diagnose)
  • Symptoms of mental health problems being attributed to other things eg getting old, being tired, cannot be bothered, being nervous, losing my confidence, losing other things like health, friends, career

As for ideas of the types of initiatives that may help resolve some of these issues – the below were the things that most responsents seemed to think would have the greatest impact.

Ideas to improve accessibility

  • Holding sessions at places frequented by this group – eg faith groups, GP surgeries, sheltered accommodation, care homes, hairdressers, libraries etc
  • Offering a choice of intervention type, such as face-to-face, groups etc (telephone work may not be appropriate)
  • Reimburse travel costs/bus fares or remove travel cost by bringing therapy to them (eg at other community locations as mentioned above)
  • Distributing CDs/DVDs so that information/support can be given at home


  • Offering less formal types of care to get people to open up and talk eg coffee mornings where wellbeing can be discussed more casually/openly in groups. Trying to establish more integration of services with community centres, promotion of
  • peer support and discussion. Focus on wellbeing, including social events, reminiscing, exercise, healthy eating. Using fun events to open up communication about mental  health issues.
  • Promotional campaigns aimed at the age group, e.g. using less formal language and using imagery, stories etc specific for older people incl posters/ leaflets.
  • Distributing these materials at places visited by this age group eg social clubs, GP surgeries, shops, council offices, community buildings, independent carers, foot clinic, diabetes care services, day centres, residential places, information stands, cross generational – such, faith centres, WI, British Legion,U3A exercise classes targeted at older persons.
  • Going and giving talks to groups of older people at other events aimed at this age group
  • Building relationships with Age UK
  • Run groups that target related but more tangible aspects of their lives i.e. Long terms conditions, loneliness rather than ‘mental health’ which has stigma

Improving diagnosis/number of referrals

  • Educating social workers, support workers, wardens, housing officers etc so they are more informed and can signpost.
  • Educating GPs on diagnosis, in addition to information on support available – giving a clear message that IAPT is for everyone, not just working age adults.
  • Workshops on emotional regulation – normalising psychology as much as possible – using to then approach those that may need more one on one help
  • IAPT accepting referrals from agencies outside of GPs