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Dorset HealthCare is celebrating the 10 year anniversary of its popular and ever-growing Steps to Wellbeing mental health service.
More than 200 members of staff and former patients packed the main hall at Merley House near Wimborne to mark the occasion with a special event.
Hosted by Steps Lead Claire Hurley and the Trust’s Mental Health and Learning Disabilities Service Director Colin Hicks, the day was also a chance for attendees to network with representatives from other partner organisations.
Steps to Wellbeing is a free, confidential NHS service for people aged 18 and over.
It provides a range of treatments for those registered with a GP across Dorset and Southampton with mild to moderate depression and anxiety disorders such as OCD, PTSD and phobias.
All the treatments offered are evidence based, and support is provided over the phone, face-to-face, in groups or via the internet, which ensures the service is as accessible as possible.
Steps was established in 2008 as part of the national Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme and has since received more than 177,000 referrals.
The popularity of the service has grown significantly.It received 4,235 referrals in its first year, compared to 20,633 during 2018.
Its workforce has also expanded to include more 200 therapists, practitioners and counsellors across 80 locations.
It’s moved with the times as well.A user-friendly website supports people to self-refer, with more than 90% of referrals now completed online.
Steps has also become one of the first services to offer Skype-based therapy, and has recently rolled out webinar groups which have enabled more than 100 people to access useful information from the comfort of their own homes.
Colin said: “Steps has to be one of the biggest success stories that I’ve seen in mental health in the last 30 years, in terms of enabling people to receive such a variety of support and better understand their conditions. It’s been a meteoric rise.
“Steps’ unrivalled achievements are testimony to all the staff that have worked, and are still working, across all disciplines. And there are lots of plans in the pipeline to enhance the service further – the future is looking bright.”
To find out more about the Steps to Wellbeing Service, visit www.steps2wellbeing.co.uk