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First Step was set up as part of the Improving Access to Psychological Therapy programme and has been running since 2009. First Step can help adults with a range of common mental health problems including mild to moderate depression, anxiety disorders (such as chronic worry, panic attacks, health anxiety and obsessions), mild bulimia, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anger or sleep problems.

The service includes low intensity & high intensity interventions and a counselling stream. Talking treatments (the commons ones being cognitive behavioural therapy and counselling) are designed to help the individual to understand and change your ways of thinking, feeling and acting which can then help the individual to do the things they want to do and live a more satisfying life.

We work primarily within working hours, Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm, however we do have some slightly earlier or later sessions available. We see people at a variety of venues, GP surgeries or central community venues. Referrals can be received from GP or other health care professionals, however First Step also accept self-referrals. These can be made by any clients who are registered to a Cumbrian GP and have a Cumbrian address.

Approximately 80% of the referrals received are self-referrals although this is not the most effective or safest pathway if someone has seen a health professional. In these instances it is best practice for them to make the direct referral and share relevant information.

We often offer treatment to some patients referred to MARAC and we attend the meetings to provide a clinical picture of the individual and the work being completed between the individual and the therapist. Within the meetings we are also able to offer advice regarding individuals who may benefit from our service. Our service communicates closely with various agencies to share relevant information which would help safeguard the victim and any associated children such as contact with children's services or Health visitors involved with the family.

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