Accessing Talking Therapies

 Having a baby on a neonatal unit can cause a range of emotions and feelings, some of those maybe positive and some might be more of a worry to you.  However you are feeling is completely normal and natural to your individual families journey.  Your baby may have arrived slightly ahead of schedule and you may have had plans or be in the middle of a big house move/renovation.  You may have had to unexpectedly stop working; we understand that life may halt for you while you and your family are on a neonatal unit, this may lead to a mix of feelings.  Sometimes it helps to talk, you might not want to talk about how you are feeling, but this unexpected turn of events may create financial worries for you or pose challenges within your home environment. There are trained professionals who can support you both inside and outside of the neonatal unit with navigating any feelings you may have and also offer practical solutions and sign posting to other relevant services.

 baby being held white hat blankets tubes

What is IAPT?

The Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme began in 2008 and has transformed the treatment of adult anxiety disorders and depression in England. IAPT is widely-recognised as the most ambitious programme of talking therapies in the world and in the past year alone more than one million people accessed IAPT services for help to overcome their depression and anxiety, and better manage their mental health.

This programme is especially relevant to families who have a neonatal stay as this experience can be profoundly traumatic, with effects being felt long after the families have left a unit. As a Network we are championing access to the services offered under the IAPT programme for our neonatal families and seek to actively  support and ultimately improve, families' mental health.

Further information about the history and setup of the IAPT Programme can be found here:


Where can I get help?

IAPT services in the South West are organised into 7 localities.

A neonatal stay is unusual from other hospital stays in that it may be in a town away from your home, in some cases many miles away. You will be able to access an IAPT provider based on your home postcode/GP postcode.  The initial stages of your referral are completed remotely and so if you and your baby are being cared for in a neonatal unit away from home please don’t worry.  Accessing the service where you live will make sure you receive local, close to home support, that will be on-going following your neonatal unit stay.

IAPT is intended to support the on-going work of any unit based psychosocial support services that you may have involvement with. IAPT can be accessed completely  confidentially. You may be offered information about IAPT by a member of the neonatal team,  it is up to you if you choose to self-refer to the service, and you can do so without telling your neonatal team.  If you would like more information about your local IAPT services please explore the links on this page.

IAPT programmes have been commissioned in each of the South West’s regional commissioning groups.


Is IAPT for me?

IAPT programme providers offer a free, confidential service on behalf of the NHS. Delivered by highly trained, accredited practitioners with a range of skills. Treatments for common mental health conditions including depression, anxiety and post- traumatic stress disorder. Available for self-referral or referral by somebody else.

b&w dad kisses baby


If you or someone you know, is suffering the effects of depression, anxiety or post traumatic stress regarding your neonatal or birthing experience, then your local IAPT programme provider can help you access free, confidential help. This referral may be done while you are still on the unit or at anytime following your admission.

If you are not sure whether you or your symptoms qualify for the service, please do get in touch with your local provider who will be able to assess your individual circumstances.


  • Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire

    Direct self-referral form

    Covers the Neonatal Intensive Care Units at St Michael's Hospital and Southmead Hospital and anyone registered with a GP in the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire area.

  • Gloucestershire

     Lets Talk Logo

    Direct Self-Referral Firm

    Lets Talk covers the Local Neonatal Unit at Royal Gloucestershire Hospital, and anyone who is registered with a GP in the Gloucestershire area.

  • Bath, Swindon and Wiltshire

    Bnes Talking Therapies

    Direct Self-Referral Form

    B&NES Talking Therapies covers the Local Neonatal Unit at the Royal Unit Hospital Bath and anyone registered with a GP in the Bath and North East Somerset areas.


    Lift Swindon

    Direct Self-Referral Form

    Lift Psychology covers the Local Neonatal Unit at the Great Western Hospital, Swindon and anyone registered with a GP in the Swindon Area.


  • Somerset

    Somerset Talking Therapies

    Direct Self-Referral Form

    Somerset Talking Therapies covers the Local Neonatal Unit at Musgrove Hospital, Taunton and the Special Care Baby Unit at Yeovil District Hospital. It also covers anyone who is registered with a GP in the Somerset area. 

  • Devon

    Direct Self-Referral Form

    Talkworks covers the Special Care Baby Units at North Devon District Hospital Barnstaple and Torbay District Hospital and also the Local Neonatal Unit at Royal Devon and Exeter Wonsford Hospital. It also covers anyone who is registered with a GP in the Devon area, excluding Plymouth. 


    Live Well Plymouth

    Direct Self-Referral Form

    Livewell South West covers the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Derriford Hospital, Plymouth and anyone who is registered with a GP in the Plymouth area.

  • Cornwall and The Isles of Scilly

    Outlook Cornwall

     Direct Self-Referral Form

    Outlook SouthWest covers the Local Neonatal Unit at the Royal Cornwall Hospital, Truro and anyone who is registered with a GP in the Cornwall area.

  • Dorset


     Direct Self-Referral Form

    Steps to Wellbeing covers anyone who is registered with a GP in the Dorset area.