Much of what we do in our daily lives involves communicating and interacting with others. Communication skills are important for things like expressing our thoughts and needs, listening to others, being able to work together with someone to solve a problem. If we have strong communication skills we have a better chance of being successful in our relationships at home, work and in community.
What is Speech & Language Therapy?
Speech and Language Therapists working in Mental Health Services can help you in circumstances where your mental health difficulty creates challenges in communicating and interacting with people. We help you to manage any speech, language and/or communication difficulties that you experience as part of your Recovery Journey. Speech & Language Therapists also assess and treat people to have Eating, Drinking and Swallowing Difficulties (medical term: Dysphagia).
How to Speech & Language Therapists work?
Speech & Language Therapists work in different ways:
- We can meet with you individually to talk about speech, language and communication needs and work with you to develop skills and confidence in this area so that you can achieve your life goals
- We can work with you to develop communication skills and strategies in a group context with people who are experiencing similar difficulties.
- We can meet with people you know e.g. your family, colleagues, friends to assist them in understanding how best to support your communication skills
- If an assessment of Eating, Drinking & Swallowing ability is required, we will meet you to discuss the impact of this and how this might affect you.
How do I get an appointment?
You can be referred by your doctor, key worker or any member of the multidisciplinary team.
What is involved?
Speech and Language Therapists see people in a variety of settings. The first visit usually takes an hour and will probably be in the community mental health centre. The Speech and Language Therapist will talk with you about how your mental health difficulties affect your ability to communicate and interact with others. He or she is interested in finding out what your strengths are, what resources you have and how you can build on these.
Depending on the area of difficulty, the Speech & Language Therapy may also wish to observe you interacting and talking with other people in different contexts e.g. at home, in work, in order to see how you manage different tasks such as getting/giving information, describing events, expressing feelings/opinions, problem solving. This will usually be at a later appointment.
Assessment and therapy will focus on the areas that are most important to you ex. if you wish to make and maintain friendships, if you find that you are struggling to follow conversations or process information, if you find it hard to express opinions/feelings.
Speech & Language Therapy will also assist you in exploring options for getting involved in your community in order to increase your opportunities for social experiences and connections.
How long does therapy last?
Speech & Language Therapy is goal focused.
You may work with your Speech & Language Therapist for brief or long periods depending on your needs and levels of resources.
Do I need to bring anything to my first appointment?
No. If you wear glasses, it can be helpful to bring these to the first session.
Can I bring someone with me?
Yes, if you wish.
Is there a waiting time?
Yes, there is generally a waiting time. This varies depending on resources.
What should I do if I can't make a Speech & Language Therapy appointment?
Please contact your therapist so that your appointment time can be given to another person.
Do Speech & Language Therapists work with Carers?
Yes, Speech & Language Therapist often work with carers (with your permission). This can be helpful in order to give you support in making changes.