Welcome to First Step South Cumbria

First Step South Cumbria provides free, talking therapies to adults (18+) in South Cumbria.

First Step can help with a range of common mental health problems including mild to moderate depression, anxiety disorders (such as chronic worry, panic attacks, health anxiety and obsessions), or sleep problems. Our practitioners will listen to your experience and work with you to understand how you have been feeling. Together we will decide what sort of help might work best for you.

Talking treatments (the most common being cognitive behavioural therapy and counselling) are designed to help you to understand and change your ways of thinking, feeling and acting which can then help you to do the things you want to do and live a more satisfying life.

We work primarily within working hours, Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm, however we do have some slightly earlier or later sessions available. Please discuss this at your telephone assessment if this will be beneficial to you. We see people at a variety of venues, GP surgeries or central community venues.

We work within standard NHS confidentiality guidelines. This means that we will keep notes on your sessions, but we would only share relevant information with others involved in your care, such as your GP. We would only break confidentiality if we felt that there was a risk to you or to someone else.

What can First Step help with?

Sometimes people come to First Step after seeing a GP and have a clear idea of their problem (or diagnosis). Often though, people know they are experiencing problems (e.g. feeling low, having panic attacks) but are unsure of exactly what the problem might be. This is normal and during your appointments you and your practitioner can discuss this.

First Step can help with a variety of problems here are some of the most common:

  • Panic Disorder
  • Depression
  • Generalised Anxiety Disorder (chronic worry)
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Phobias
  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Health Anxiety
  • Social Anxiety Disorder
  • Postnatal Depression
  • Employment problems alongside depression or an anxiety disorder

Access help from First Step

Online self- referral

Complete the online self-referral form which will take between five and ten minutes. It will ask about your problems and what you would hope to be different, this helps us to direct you to the most helpful type of treatment.

Feel free to ask a friend or family member to help you complete the form if you think this might be useful. If you are struggling to complete the form then please speak to your GP and they can also refer you directly.

Paper self-referral

If you are unable to access the form online and want to refer yourself, you can ring the First Step Hub on 0300 555 0345 and ask for a paper self-referral form to be sent to you in the post. If you find completing forms difficult then we would encourage you ask for help from friends, family or GP staff.