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NHS talking therapies - self referral

Self-referral can be used to access free NHS talking therapies without needing an appointment with your GP. This leaflet explains which services you can access.

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What are talking therapies?

Talking therapies can be very helpful if you are experiencing stress, low mood, depression or anxiety. Around one in five people suffer from anxiety or depression every year, and talking therapies provide people with support and treatment to overcome these difficulties.

Depending on your problem and where you live in the UK, you may be able to access:

  • Consultation and advice.

  • Courses, workshops and groups.

  • Guided self-help.

  • Individual counselling and psychological therapy.

What to expect with talking therapies

You can find out all about what to expect from talking therapy, how it works and how it might help you, from our leaflet called Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

If you refer yourself for counselling, the next step will depend on where you live. You will often have an assessment with a counsellor first. This may be in person or over the phone. The counsellor will find out more about you and can advise you on which form of help would suit you best.

If you think you are depressed, it may be helpful if you fill in a questionnaire before you speak to the counsellor. This questionnaire, called the PHQ9, will give your therapist a better idea of what your problems are and what help you need. If asked to do this, you would complete the questionnaire which you can find here and keep a copy for your appointment.

Find out more

You can find lots of information about depression, anxiety, stress and other mental health disorders from our leaflets. You can also find advice on some ways of managing stress, loneliness and low mood, such as mindfulness.

The self-referral services on this page are not crisis services. If you need urgent help, you should contact your GP, go to your local A&E department or contact the Emergency Services by dialling 999.

If you are having thoughts of self-harm, you can find out more about help which is available and how you can help deal with these thoughts from our information leaflet called Suicidal Thoughts.

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How do I self-refer?

You can refer yourself to your local talking therapy service using the links below if you know which city or Integrated Care Board (ICB) your GP practice is in.

If you are not sure which ICB your GP practice is in, you can find out by entering your practice's postcode in this tool.

Please be aware that self-referral is not available in every part of the UK. Please search the NHS website or contact your GP if you cannot find your area below, or if any of the links are not working.

Local NHS talking therapy services in England

Ashford Kent

Basildon and Brentwood Essex

Barking and Dagenham Essex

Barnet London

Barnsley Yorkshire

Bath Avon



Bexley London


Blackburn with Darwen



Brent London

Bristol Avon

Bromley London


Calderdale West Yorkshire

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough

Camden and Islington London

Central London (Westminster)

Chorley and South Ribble Lancashire

Cornwall and Isles of Scilly

Coventry and Warwickshire

Crawley, Sussex

Croydon Surrey/London

Dartford, Gravesham, Swanley, Kent




Ealing London

East Kent

East Lancashire

East Surrey or details of all local counselling service providers

East Sussex

Enfield London

Fylde and Wyre Lancashire

Guildford and Waverley ICB Surrey

Gloucestershire (or for services in South Gloucestershire see Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire)

Greater Preston Lancashire

Greenwich London

Hackney London

Hammersmith & Fulham London

Haringey London

Harrogate and Rural District Yorkshire

Harrow London

Havering London


Hillingdon London

Horsham, Sussex

Hounslow London

Isle of Wight

Kingston London

Kirklees (including Huddersfield) West Yorkshire

Lambeth London

Leeds Yorkshire

Leicester City Leicestershire

Leicestershire and Rutland

Lewisham London



Liverpool Merseyside


Medway Kent

Merton London

Mid Essex

Mid Sussex

Milton KeynesBuckinghamshire

Morecambe Bay Lancashire

Newham London

Newcastle Tyne and Wear

North Cumbria


Nottingham City Nottinghamshire


Norfolk and Waveney

North East Essex

North East Hants and Farnham or details of all local counselling service providers

North East Somerset

North Staffordshire

North Yorkshire

North West Surrey ICBs or details of all local counselling service providers



Redbridge London

Redditch and Bromsgrove Worcestershire

Richmond Surrey

Richmondshire Yorkshire

Scarborough and Ryedale Yorkshire

Sheffield Yorkshire


Somerset (or for services in North Somerset see Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire)

South Cumbria

South Essex

Southampton Hampshire

Southwark London

South Worcestershire

St Helens Merseyside



Surrey Downs or details of all local counselling service providers

Surrey Heath or details of all local counselling service providers

Sutton Surrey

Swale Kent

Telford and Wrekin Shropshire

Thurrock Essex

Tower Hamlets London

Vale of York Yorkshire

Waltham Forest London

Wandsworth London

West Essex

West Lancashire

Westminster London

West Sussex


Wolverhampton West Midlands

Wyre Forest Worcestershire

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Mental health help in Scotland

Self-referral for talking therapy is not routinely available on the NHS in Scotland. However, there are options available for online self-help courses, support groups, befriending schemes and self help books.

The Scottish Association for Mental Health website has an email where you can enquire about local services, and details of several local services you can refer yourself to.

Breathing Space is a free telephone helpline offering help and support to anyone suffering from mental health problems. It is open from 6 pm-2 am Monday-Thursday and 6 pm Friday-6 am on Monday.

Mental health help in Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland, there is no IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) service. This means that there is no NHS self-referral option for talking therapies in Northern Ireland. All referral is through your GP.

OCD UK gives a useful summary of the pathway to follow for seeking help. Although this relates to help for OCD, the process is similar for patients with depression and anxiety, who would access counselling through self-referral in England.

Contact is a charity with an independent counselling service, based in Belfast. It aims to provide crisis counselling to anyone living in Northern Ireland.

The Counselling Directory also provides a list of private accredited counsellors and therapists.

Mental health help in Isle of Man

The Community Wellbeing Service in the Isle of Man offers a variety of treatment options for people with mental health problems.

Mental health help in Jersey

Jersey talking therapies offers free services to over 18s living in Jersey. However, it is not a self-referral service. You need to ask your GP or another mental healthcare professional to refer you.

While every effort is made to keep these details up to date, the company cannot be held responsible for links to NHS services. If you have any queries, please contact your GP surgery.

Further reading and references

  • What is CBT?; British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies
  • Togetherall

Article history

The information on this page is written and peer reviewed by qualified clinicians.

  • Next review due: 21 Oct 2028
  • 23 Oct 2023 | Latest version

    Last updated by

    Dr Toni Hazell

    Peer reviewed by

    Dr Pippa Vincent, MRCGP
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