New training drive to support people with substance misuse and mental health problems
Staff from BCUHB and Gwynedd County Council have recently undertaken training in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy which will enable them to intervene earlier and deliver psychological therapies to people involved in substance misuse services in North West Wales.
The Agored Cymru accredited training has also been delivered to staff in other counties of North Wales.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a talking therapy that can help people manage their problems by changing the way they think and behave. The therapy can help people to deal with overwhelming problems in a more positive way by breaking them down into smaller parts.
Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board say that many people who have substance misuse problems will have one or more Common Mental Health Disorder such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Depression or Anxiety and others. Many of these patients also have a history of trauma and meet the diagnostic criteria for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
“Substance misuse patients often use drugs, alcohol or both to relieve the anxiety which they feel as a result of their mental health problems,” explained John Sims, who works as a Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist at BCUHB and delivers the training programme which is accredited by AGORED Cymru.
“Cognitive Behavioural Therapy has the most overwhelming evidence base for use with patients who suffer from a range of Anxiety Based Disorders”.
“Those patients who are able to access CBT report a reduction in their anxiety and substance misuse as well as improved functionality. Some will pass through a process of care that will result in them being discharged from the service. “
Five members of staff from BCUHB and Gwynedd County Council recently completed the AGORED Cymru accredited CBT training, and they are already putting their new skills  to good use.
Another member of staff has completed an AGORED Cymru course to become an Internal Verifier and will now be able to contribute to the accreditation process.