Access to Psychology Services Ireland (APSI) is based in Co Roscommon and provides stepped-care, low intensity interventions in a primary care setting for adults with mild-to-moderate mental health presentations.
The development of APSI (a primary care psychology service) was based on some key principles:
· Swift provision of psychological support to adults in distress. That is, a ‘no waiting list’ approach.
· Free at the point of contact
· Available locally
· Easily accessible. That is, accepting walk-ins and self-referrals
The service should be rigorously evaluated, including feedback from service users, with the data published in public journals. Building upon a 3-year pilot of a predominantly one-to-one Cognitive Behaviour Therapy-based service, APSI was launched in October 2012 as a fully funded HSE primary care service.
Since then, APSI has provided empathic, non-judgemental, evidence-based psychological treatments to the adults in county Roscommon. With six bases throughout the county, the service is highly accessible accepting professional and self-referrals. The service uses a ‘stepped care’ model using Assistant Psychologists, overseen by a Senior Psychologist, and has demonstrated to the community that psychological support can be swiftly available when required.
The project is proactive in promoting positive mental health in the local community and has worked with local media (newspapers and radio) and taken stands at local events to promote positive mental health within the community.
APSI has supported a high volume of individuals in significant emotional distress over this time. It’s commitment to rigorous evaluation has also meant that it’s published regular papers on the clinical effectiveness of the service and on the experience of service users who use the service.
To further include the voice of the service user in the service, APSI has created a ‘consumer panel’ of past service users. These individuals generously assist the APSI service in better understanding the experience of current service users and help informs ongoing service development.
APSI provides one model of how, with care and vision, the high, and growing, mental health needs of our local communities can be met.