Mental Health
NHS Services

Worried about someone?

If you’re worried about somebody’s mental health, and want them to access support you can assist them with their self-referral. You are unable to refer somebody into the service, unless you are a healthcare professional, however you can help empower the individual to refer themselves.

I’m concerned about somebody and would like to refer them into the service

If you’re concerned for someone’s mental health but don’t know where to look for help, Mind is a great place to start. Mind has a wealth of information to help friends, family, carers and others understand the symptoms of mental health problems and offer support to the people suffering from them.

Visit the Mind website for more information :


GP/Professional Referral

This section aims to provide guidance on professional referrals to the VitaMinds ‘Improving Access to Psychological Therapies’ (IAPT) service in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire. This IAPT service provides NICE recommended treatments for people who are:

  • Over 16 years old
  • Living in the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire area
  • Experiencing common mental health problems

You can find the assisted referral form here.

The IAPT service provides a stepped care model ensuring patients receive the least intensive treatment in order to promote a reliable improvement.

The IAPT service is not suitable for people assessed to have significant risks. It is meant for patients where the likelihood of acting out is very low and the impact would be minor, and without the need of medical intervention. Examples include patients who have suicidal ideation but with no plans or intent and patients who may superficially cut or scratch but don’t require medical intervention. With regards to safeguarding issues, the patient’s illness would have only a very mild impact, if any, on the safety or wellbeing of others.

Appropriate referrals to the IAPT service include:

Referrals appropriate to service include:

  • Mild to moderate and moderate to severe depression
  • Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • Panic Disorder
  • Social Anxiety Disorder
  • Health Anxiety Disorder
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Specific phobias
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Chronic Pain/MUS

The service has Long Term Conditions integrated pathways with physical health services to provide better support to this group of people and achieve better outcomes.

The IAPT service doesn’t take referrals for patients whose primary issues are:

  • Schizophrenia
  • Personality disorder
  • Obvious signs of psychosis
  • Organic disorders of the brain
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Anger management
  • Substance misuse
  • Posing a high risk* to themselves or others, at crisis due to psychosis, those with pre-existing diagnoses of acute mental illnesses and dementia crisis

*High risk refers to patient who are acutely unwell and requiring secondary Mental Health Services. Patients for whom it is expected the service should refer onwards and not send back to primary care.

Patients with moderate or severe impairment of cognitive function e.g. severe learning disabilities or dementia would not be suitably or appropriately supported by the service.

If in doubt regarding appropriateness of referral, please contact us to discuss.

We provide the following Interventions, as recommended by NICE:

Low intensity interventions, provided by a psychological wellbeing practitioner

  • Guided self help
  • Depression group
  • Facilitated self-help via Computerised Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CCBT)
  • Behavioural activation
  • Anxiety group
  • Telephone-based individual treatments


High intensity interventions, provided by CBT therapists and IAPT compliant counsellors as recommended by NICE

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
  • Eye Movement, Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Counselling for depression
  • CBT couples
  • Mindfulness
  • Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)

We provide depression and anxiety treatment groups at step 3, one-to-one telephone therapy and face-to-face treatments.

The Referral Process

The IAPT service accepts self-referrals, GP and other health professional referrals for patients with a common mental health problem who seek a talking therapies intervention.

If you are a GP or healthcare professional wishing to make a referral on behalf of your patient you can do so by completing the Assisted Referral form here.

We will contact the patient and arrange an assessment.

With the patient’s consent, we will inform you of the outcome of their assessment and at the point of completed treatment.

If at any point we need to escalate the patient to Step 4, Secondary Care services, we will facilitate this referral and inform you of the actions we have taken. We will also inform you if the individual has dropped out of the service or chooses not to pursue treatment.

IAPT Measures

IAPT services have several tools that are useful to measure clinical, work and social functioning outcomes. The most common IAPT measures used are:

  • Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ9) for depression. A score of 10 or above out of 27 suggests the person meets criteria for a diagnoseable mental health condition and is experiencing symptoms of depression
  • A range of disorder specific measurements and functioning tools recommended by NICE
  • Generalised Anxiety Disorder Assessment (GAD7). A score of 8 or above out of 21 suggests the person meets criteria for a diagnoseable mental health condition and is experiencing symptoms of significant anxiety