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Nov 4, 2016

Rethinking therapeutic support – Talk for Health

Our emotional health has the biggest impact on our overall wellbeing and quality of life, measured by life satisfaction, and is predictive up to eight years earlier.  Compared to employment for example, the third most important contributor to our wellbeing in adulthood, we know far less about how to improve emotional health.  This is why it is great to see pioneers building the evidence base.

Today’s addition to our case study database is Talk for Health.

→ be one of our wellbeing pioneers

What is Talk for Health? 

Talk for Health (T4H) is a small but acclaimed Social Enterprise making therapeutic talk accessible, human and everyday.

Our vision is to build an emotionally healthier world by teaching people the therapeutic talk skills to give and receive effective emotional support.

The core Talk for Health training teaches these skills – namely, how to self-reflect and talk truthfully; how to listen and respond empathically, and how to participate in a structured ongoing group. Following this training, people can participate in our network of facilitated ongoing groups for wellbeing.

T4H is based on two powerful evidence-based principles:

  1. That simply having the skills and opportunities to share inner feelings and experiences with supportive others improves mental health and prevents mental illness.
  2. That effective therapeutic talk does not rely on professionals.

Who do we offer it to? 

Talk for Health is based not on targeting troubled individuals but on building empathic community bonds. It has been found helpful by a wide range of members of the public, who are seeking greater well-being and connection with others.   Currently we deliver Talk for Health in Islington – funded by the NHS – and in Doncaster – funded by the Borough Council.

What are the results? 

We assess our results using the Outcomes Rating Scale (Miller, 2010), a validated instrument for measuring the wellbeing impacts of talking therapies.  Analysis of pre-post wellbeing in over 200 participants from our NHS Islington programme shows that Talk for Health achieves outcomes equivalent to therapy in raising wellbeing.  70% of our Islington participants are clinically distressed at intake and of these, 70% achieve statistically significant improvement with a large effect size.

T4H has been independently endorsed by leading academics in an RSA report Community Capital:  The Value of Connected Communities. In the report, Talk for Health was praised for its sustainable approach of building wellbeing by building community bonds.

 “Talk for Health has the potential to make a great contribution to social well-being by bringing the skills and knowledge of the counselling and psychotherapy field into the wider community. Research evidence indicates that people don’t have to be mental health professionals to be able to bring about positive psychological changes in themselves and others. Talk for Health taps this potential, and offers an accessible and exciting pathway towards greater psychological wellbeing for all.”
Mick Cooper, Professor of Counselling, University of Roehampston 

“Talk for Health is a truly innovative and genuinely original proposal.  As someone who has managed the largest psychotherapy service outside London, initiated CBT in this country and set up a counselling service in a number of GP practices, I feel well qualified to endorse Nicky Forsythe’s conclusions about the slow, costly and unsustainable nature of services currently offered. Talk for Health offers a fast, cost-effective alternative that would reach the parts of our society that other therapies don’t reach. I am convinced that the idea is classically simple and highly effective.”
Lionel Joyce OBE, CBE

Please join us

There are many other regions of London and the UK which need our services. We are seeking funders and advocates who can partner with us in transforming the mental health and wellbeing of our communities.  Please get in touch to find out more.

For more information you can visit www.talkforhealth.co.uk 


Miller, S. D. (2010) Psychometrics of the ORS and SRS:  Results from RCT’s and Meta-Analyses of Routine Outcome Monitoring and Feedback, International Center for Clinical Excellence

MIND (2013), We Still Need to Talk 

→ be one of our wellbeing pioneers

Talk for Health

Case study written by Talk for Health (T4H) is a small but acclaimed Social Enterprise making therapeutic talk accessible, human and everyday.

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