THE expert who has joined the team at a Ludlow GP practice says that, far from being unusual, people who experienced mental health problems are part of a big club.

"More and more people are becoming aware of the importance of taking care of our mental health, alongside caring for our physical health needs,” said Dr Laura Fisk who has joined the team at Station Drive Surgery.

“Whether or not our difficulties attract a diagnostic label, we have all struggled to manage the demands of life at times and this clinical psychology service is designed to address this need in Ludlow.”

She says that, in any year, a quarter of the population are estimated to experience mental health problems.

“The mental health anti-stigma campaign, Time to Change suggests that one in four of us will experience a mental health problem in any given year.

“However, formal mental health diagnosis is only one way of describing the struggles endured by patients in Ludlow and nationally.

“Many people struggle to manage chronic health conditions and fit the changes needed to keep themselves healthy into their daily routines, while others find they come into difficulty when managing relationships and work demands. Clinical psychology can support people with each of these challenges.

“As part of the Prime Minister's Challenge Fund, one core aim of this pilot project is to improve access to general practice appointments, meaning patients have less time to wait to see their GP, and have the opportunity to see an expert in psychology early on in their help-seeking journey.

“This has the benefit of freeing up GPs to work physical health problems, while the psychologist can work with patients on their psychological needs.”

The project in Ludlow is one of just 57 throughout the country intended to help improve access to Primary Care services.