New Zealanders Visit Mental Health Trust

To learn from our mental health service

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Two mental healthcare professionals from Auckland have visited West London Mental Health Trust’s Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services to see if they can provide greater access to people with common mental health problems.

Dr Peter Watson and Tess Ahern

Dr Peter Watson, clinical director at Counties Manukau District Health Board and colleague Tess Ahern, (both pictured above) general manager of mental health services met staff at IAPT to consider how a similar service could be established in New Zealand. 

IAPT provides counselling services to patients across Ealing, Hounslow, and Hammersmith and Fulham.  These are free and confidential services that offer different talking therapies including counselling, couples counselling and cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT).

Peter said: “We’re here on a leadership programme aimed at sharing ideas and best practice from other countries.  We’re really interested in learning from the people who have developed these services.  It will allow us to think what we could do in New Zealand instead of starting from scratch.” 

Peter added he was impressed with the commitment to deliver mental health services in primary care settings.  “We know that common mental health conditions like depression are so prevalent in much broader population groups, so seeing how mental health care is being provided in primary care settings that are easily accessible for much larger numbers is really helpful,” he said.

Counties Manukau District Health Board is one of 20 organisations in New Zealand which delivers mental health services across the country.  Manukau serves a population of around 500,000 with different levels of social demographics.  Peter and Tess’s visit to the trust formed part of a two week tour of the UK which involves visiting a range of different mental healthcare settings in Lambeth, Birmingham, Chester and Manchester.

Tess said: “We’ve heard a lot about the IAPT programme in west London at a national level and were directed here.  It has a strong reputation in terms of increasing access to mental health for people with mild to moderate disorder and both of us are delighted to pay the trust a visit.”

To find out more about our IAPT services please visit the following websites (Ealing and Hammersmith & Fulham accept self-referrals; in Hounslow please ask your GP to refer you). Ealing:; Hounslow (
Hammersmith & Fulham (


June 18, 2014

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