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Our community services

Our community services for older people work together with people, their family and carers who have mental health needs that cannot be fully met by their GP or other support services.

The help and support that we provide for people can vary tremendously depending on their individual circumstances and the seriousness of their mental health needs. People remain in touch with our service for a limited period of time and this is usually until their immediate needs have been met and they are feeling more stable and able to cope.

Referring to our service

You will usually be referred to our service by your GP because they know we will be able to provide help and support to improve your mental health and emotional wellbeing.

We aim to see people within four weeks of a referral being made, and often much sooner. You will receive a letter from us with details about your appointment and what to expect.

Our service operates during normal office hours - from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

How we can help

We can help people with a number of different needs:

  • Memory problems 
  • Different types of dementia
  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorders, including obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Psychoses (mental disorders where people lose touch with reality). 

What you can expect

We want all the people who use our service to feel that care is delivered with compassion, equality and respect. You have the right to be involved in all aspects of your care and you are encouraged to question anything you do not understand or agree with. 

For most people we provide short-term support that includes an assessment and signposting and referral to other services.

These include: 

  • Mental health assessments
  • Individual wellbeing and recovery programmes
  • Advice about specialist mental health medicines
  • Memory clinics (for the assessment and diagnosis of dementia) – our Devon Memory Service
  • Coping strategies to help with memory problems
  • Counselling and psychological therapies
  • Anxiety and stress management
  • Creative therapies
  • Support, information and education for carers and liaison with Carer Support Workers
  • Liaison with, and referral to, other health, social care, voluntary and independent services
  • Ongoing monitoring and review for people with more severe and challenging needs
  • Support for local memory cafes
  • Advice, information and signposting to other sources of support. 

What happens at your first appointment?

During your first appointment we will find out about you, discuss your situation and make an assessment of your mental health needs. This assessment is an important part of understanding the support that you might need from our service and, possibly, others. 

With some people we will develop a personalised care plan. This will be drawn-up with you to ensure that we are meeting your needs. 

You can choose to include your family, friends or carer in this process, too. In some cases you will also be allocated a Named Worker, who will act as a key point of contact with you.

Our staff

Our staff have a wide variety of skills and experience and come from a number of different professional disciplines. 

They include: 

  • Community psychiatric nurses (often referred to as CPNs) who are specially trained nurses in mental health. They will work with you to help meet your needs and work towards recovery and achieving your own goals. 
  • Occupational therapists (often referred to as OTs) who will work with you to help you become as independent and safe as possible, through adapting tasks and your environment.  
  • Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialise in the assessment and treatment of mental illness. They understand both physical and mental health problems. They may prescribe ‘talking’ therapies or medication and will speak to your family doctor about you.
  • Clinical Psychologists are trained to listen and help with mental health problems such as stress, anxiety, depression, memory difficulties, coping with illness, disability or pain. They work with families, couples, individuals and carers who look after people who are unwell, disabled, confused or displaying challenging behaviour. Clinical Psychologists often use tests to help clarify people’s needs and offer a range of scientifically-based therapies to help meet these needs.