Let’s Keep Talking is a free telephone service, set up and run by a group of therapists, psychologists and counsellors, responding to the need for timely and effective help to those in distress. We aim to offer free, accessible, high quality ‘talking therapy’ to anyone in need of support, whether because of mental ill health, loneliness, worry, bereavement, or simply because they are feeling ‘stuck’. We know that complex referral procedures, intrusive assessments and long waiting lists aren’t helpful when people are feeling low, so we keep our service as simple and flexible as possible, and strive continually to make it more accessible to those most in need of this kind of support.
The project started as a spontaneous response to the first Covid 19 lockdown. We anticipated that the lockdown and pandemic would lead to increased demand for mental health services alongside a reduction in their availability and accessibility to those most in need. With time on our hands (due to the lockdown) and skills to offer, we set up our service within one week of the lockdown beginning.
Over the 18 months we have been running the service, we have provided over 3000 therapeutic conversations to around 350 people. Demand is still huge, and rising, and we have had to increase the number of therapists from the eight who initially set up the service, to a pool of 30 , some of whom now work on a paid sessional basis, and some of whom continue to offer their time on a purely voluntary basis.