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Promoting mental health and meeting the needs of the large numbers of the general public with problems of anxiety and depression is a big challenge. Particular…
Promoting mental health and meeting the needs of the large numbers of the general public with problems of anxiety and depression is a big challenge. Particular difficulties are the low capacity of the therapy services and the reluctance of the general public to seek help. The aim of this study was to compare the attendance, effectiveness and characteristics of participants self‐referring to six different psycho‐educational workshops, each using non‐diagnostic titles: self‐confidence; stress; sleep; relationships; happiness; and anger. The series of day‐long workshops ran for one year and were offered to members of the general public in south east London. Over a quarter had not previously sought help from their GP. The take‐up rates for the self‐confidence, sleep and anger workshops were highest and one month after attending these workshops, participants reported significantly lower depression and distress. It was concluded that a self‐referral route to some day‐long workshops can attract quite large numbers of the general public and provide access to effective psychological treatment. These workshops can be used as an effective way of promoting mental health and improving the provision of evidence‐based mental health treatment in the community, possibly within the Improving Access to Psychological Treatments (IAPT) programme in the UK.