Supporting good mental health in your patients with Long-Term Conditions: Achieving High Quality Care and Reducing Service Demand

Oftentimes, the interaction between physical and mental health is complex. Acknowledging psychological components to patients’ presentation is essential for quality care, but it can be very difficult for busy frontline NHS staff.

We all know patients who seem to struggle with their long-term condition, but there’s rarely enough time in brief consultations to ask the questions. Many clinicians will avoid opening conversations about how patients are coping.

The Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust in Camden has developed materials for exploring barriers and facilitators to asking about mental health in brief consultations. Through teaching and interactive methods, we will think about links between mind and body, and learn ways to talk straightforwardly with patients about how their LTC might affect their mood or vice versa. We will also consider how to position a potential referral for psychological support in a way that is acceptable to patients, providing tools and techniques that are realistic and practical.

Importantly, we will look at supporting staff in the meantime, in a culture of being expected to do more with limited resources for mental health.

Who is this for?

The training is intended for GPs, nurses, physician associates and healthcare assistants who encounter adult patients diagnosed with LTCs such as diabetes, COPD and arthritis, and a mental health problem, including depression, anxiety or personality disorders.

What will be covered?

  • Physical and mental health: Recognising the work we are already doing
  • Your view from the frontline: What makes the work challenging
  • “Opening a can of worms”: Barriers to talking about mental health in brief consultations
  • Finding the language: Talking straightforwardly about the links between our minds and our bodies
  • Discussing a referral for psychological support: Helping patients understand how psychological services can help them cope with distressing physical conditions
  • Supporting ourselves: Thinking about staff support in your setting

In this video, Tim explores some of the difficulties of managing mental health patients in primary care, and some of the vicious cycles between physical and mental health: here.

See our website for much more information: here.

How long will it last? 

Depending on your availability, sessions in your practice, hospital or community setting could last between 30 minutes and 1 hour

What to do if I’m interested?

Register your interest here

You can also contact project lead Emma Grindrod by emailing or calling 07753317950.



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