Therapy apps have a role to play in mental health for individuals who feel isolated and are worried their GPs may not refer them for talking therapies, Mental Health Today explained during a debate for international news channel TRT World.

"More people are opening up now and that is a mark of the success of all the awareness raising campaigns that have taken place over the last ten to fifteen years, but it's important to encourage the right expectations from people when they do open up," our co-editor Barney told presenter David Foster.

"Not all GPs are as empathetic as each other, while often people will be told they need further assessments to evaluate whether they are "ill enough" to be eligible for further support. That can be really damaging [when you're not expecting that response]."

Referral roadblock

Less than fifteen percent of people considered eligible for talking therapies through the NHS actually get a referral due to lack of resources.

Barney added that asking for time off work for a GP appointment can be intimidating in itself, due to stigma that hasn't quite gone away.

"Realistically, there is still stigma, it's still there. I've got family members who've been through trauma that have wanted to get time off work to get access to support, but that request in itself can be very intimidating if you're already going through a lot."

Mental Health Today gives a direct voice to people with mental health needs and shares innovative ideas that drive progress in care.

Barney was joined on the panel by the founder of online counselling platform XenZone, Elaine Bousfield, along with author and psychotherapist Aaron Ballick, and academic Andre Tomlin.

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