A clinical psychologist based in Newark is using social media to help de-stigmatise mental health issues and explain how psychological therapy can help.
Dr Sarah Toft works for the NHS, based at Newark Hospital.
She has recently set up a private practice — Flourish Psychological Services Ltd — based on Stodman Street.
It offers expert psychological care to adults whose difficulties might not meet the NHS threshold or who may have a preference for private care.
She can offer appointments outside normal office hours — in the evenings and weekends — making it easier for patients to fit therapy around their life and work.
“One in four people in the UK suffers from mental health issues, such as anxiety or depression, and while it is becoming more acceptable to talk about this, it is still an issue and a hurdle to get over,” Sarah said.
“Crucially, the need to accept and de-stigmatise mental health is starting to get the recognition it requires and deserves.
“To help and support this, with Flourish I have begun to develop a social media presence on Facebook and Instagram to debunk the stigma; explain more about mental health issues and what psychologists do; and how therapy can help and encourage self-care, among other things.”
Her pages can be find on Instagram and Facebook: @new arkpsychologist.
Sarah studied at Keele University, where she did a BA degree in psychology, sociology and social anthropology, before going on to do a masters degree in community care (learning disabilities).
After several years working as an assistant psychologist in Staffordshire and Mansfield, she studied for her Doctorate of Clinical Psychology at Leicester University, and has spent 14 years working with patients experiencing problems such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
'Taking one step at a time'
Working with mild, moderate and complex psychological, or mental health issues, Sarah said there were a range of treatments that could help.
She has trained in cognitive behavioural therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy, and eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing therapy.
Each patient has their treatment tailored to their need. Sarah works with them to understand the situation, how it came about and the best way to overcome it.
“Some come because they do not want to share their concerns with friends or family or are concerned about being a burden,” Sarah said.
She said her aim was to help them return to a better quality of life.
She said it was a privilege being a clinical psychologist.
“Patients share things that often they have not told anybody else,” she said.
“Often when something traumatic has happened this can change their view of life and their social environment.
“Improving this situation is all about working together and taking one step at a time.”
More information can be found at www.newarkpsychology.co.uk