‘Help Us Help You’: BATV Speaks to Dr Roopak Khara About Mental Health to Support New NHS Campaign

The NHS has launched its two-month mental health campaign ‘Help Us Help You’, which aims to increase awareness of NHS talk therapy services (also known as Improving Access to Psychological Therapies – IAPT).

To support the campaign, BATV spoke with Dr Roopak Khara, an psychiatrist based in West London, to discuss the importance of mental health during the pandemic and the tools available to support individuals through such time. (See video below).

The NHS campaign encourages adults with mental health issues to seek help and consider accessing talking therapy via their GP or through self-referral. It also has a specific focus on multicultural groups and people struggling with unemployment.

A survey of over 14,000 adults by the mental health charity Mind in 2020 revealed that existing inequalities in housing, employment, finances and other issues have had a greater impact on the mental health of people from ethnically diverse groups.

Given the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on multicultural communities, there has been an increase in mental health concerns. People from multicultural communities often have different experiences of mental health problems that reflect their culture and context. Social and economic inequalities or mental health stigma can often be barriers to accessing the right help. 

Mental health is a top priority of the NHS, and we count on your support to promote the campaign and help us reach people and communities who are the most at risk this winter.

Watch: Dr Jack Derby speak with Dr Roopak Khara about the importance of mental health during the pandemic.


  • The NHS is here for your mental health, even during the pandemic. Our services have remained open and you can still access care and professional advice for your mental health.
  • COVID-19 and lockdown have impacted our mental health. You are not alone. If you are struggling with anxiety and depression, NHS talking therapies can help. 
  • NHS Talking Therapies are a free, effective and confidential way to treat common mental health issues. They can help you by working through feelings of anxiety or depression with a trained therapist. 
  • NHS Talking Therapies are conducted in confidence and help is available face to face, by phone or online. For those whose first language is not English, talking therapies can be delivered through multi-lingual therapists or through confidential translators.
  • Talking therapies services are still open during lockdown, and our mental health staff can provide care via phone or online from the comfort of your home. Face to face appointments can also be arranged in many areas and services are putting all the required sanitary measures in place to do so.


How can patients access NHS Talking Therapies?

NHS Mental health services are free, and people can refer themselves to NHS Talking Therapies via their GP, or, alternatively, they can self-refer via nhs.uk/talk

What are talking therapies?

Talking therapies can help with common mental health problems like stress, anxiety and depression. Which therapy the patient is offered depends on which one has been shown to be most helpful for their symptoms.

NHS talking therapies services are also known as Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services. These services are still open and accessible during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Examples of talking therapies include:

  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) – a family of talking therapies all based on the idea that thoughts, feelings, what we do, and how our bodies feel, are all connected. CBT works to help us notice and challenge patterns of thoughts or behaviours so we can feel better.
  • Guided self-help – in which a therapist supports the patient as they work through a self-help course in their own time, either using a workbook or an online course.
  • Counselling for depression – a type of counselling developed specially for people with depression.

Talking therapies can be offered in many different ways, including: using a self-help workbook with the support of a therapist; as an online course; over the phone; one-to-one; or in a group. 

What can talking therapies help with?

You do not need to have a diagnosed mental health problem to refer yourself to an NHS psychological therapies service (IAPT).

Talking therapy can help people who may be having panic attacks, struggling with flashbacks and nightmares, feeling low and hopeless, or perhaps they are finding it hard to cope with work, life or relationships. Other things that talking therapies can help with include constant worrying, obsessive thoughts or behaviours, fear of social situations, constant worry about their health, or phobias.

If you are struggling with anxiety, depression or low mood, simply ask your GP for a referral to NHS Talking Therapies, or you can self-refer via nhs.uk/talk.


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