You must be registered with a GP surgery in Cornwall or the Isles of Scilly to use the Talking Therapies Service.


If you would like to refer yourself into the service, you can self-refer online or call 01208 871 905. Appointments are by phone, video or face-to-face.

Please note that if your self-referral raises concerns about your safety, we will signpost you to a more appropriate service.

Health professionals

If you are a health professional and want to refer someone into the service, use our health professional online referral form. Please note, this form should not be completed by patients.

NHS Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Talking Therapies

The NHS Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Talking Therapies service provides free, confidential talking therapies for people who are registered with a GP in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, aged 16 years and over, experiencing common difficulties including:

  • low mood
  • stress
  • anxiety
  • worry

We can also help people experiencing long-term physical health conditions, which affect their low mood, stress and anxiety. 

This includes:

  • diabetes (type 1 and 2, and pre-diabetes)
  • cardiovascular related problems
  • irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

What are the benefits?

  • We will help you learn the skills you need to overcome your difficulties.
  • You will feel heard and understood.
  • You will be able to better manage your physical health.
  • We will help you link in with other support in the community.

Community mental health transformation

Our Talking Therapy service is also in the process of transformation. Our work on wider mental health transformation is coordinated with developments happening within the transformation programme.

How our service works

It is important to be aware that we are a talking therapy service and not a traditional counselling service. We offer many evidenced-based treatment options recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

Once we receive your referral, we will book your assessment appointment. After assessment, we will decide with you the most suitable talking therapy from the following NICE-recommended therapies:

  • interpersonal psychotherapy
  • couples therapy for depression
  • counselling for depression
  • mindfulness-based cognitive therapy
  • cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), low or high intensity

We provide people with different treatments, depending on their needs. We usually start with the least intensive treatment first.

It may be that another service is more suitable for your current needs and we can help signpost you to one of these.

Treatment is provided by trained IAPT therapists, either one to one or in a group course, and can be:

  • by online video call
  • face to face at one of our locations across the county
  • by telephone

Find out more in our Talking Therapies service remit (PDF, 146 KB).


As part of our work to improve services for people needing support with their mental health, the Cornwall and the Isle of Scilly Talking Therapies Team have been working with ieso to provide typed therapy to adults aged over 18.  

Ieso’s fully qualified therapists have been helping people with their mental health through confidential, one-to-one, typed conversations. The online approach is making therapy more accessible, particularly for people who want to access therapy outside regular hours or do not want to speak to someone in person.

Patients have told us that typed therapy makes it easier to be open and reflect on their thoughts and behaviours than if they were sat in front of a therapist.

How does it work?

  • Once someone has referred into and been accepted by the service, they will take part in an assessment. Depending on their needs and preferences, they might be offered the typed service through ieso.
  • The person would then be offered a 45 to 60-minute appointment with a trained therapist. Appointments are available from 6am to 11pm, 7 days a week.
  • People take part in 1-2-1 typed therapy sessions on a weekly basis.
  • People might be set tasks between sessions. They can contact therapists between sessions to get support with these tasks.
  • People learn practical cognitive behavioural therapy techniques to use in daily life.

The benefits

  • Flexible patient choice: with appointments at any time of day or night, ieso currently see 65% of patients outside of working hours.
  • No travel required: accessible from anywhere. Patients only need a device that connects to the internet.
  • Life friendly: people can access therapy in their own time. Ieso fits sessions around patient commitments.
  • Support between sessions: patients can message their therapist in-between sessions for support with tasks.
  • Guidance beyond therapy: learn practical CBT skills to use in day-to-day life.

To learn more about ieso’s typed and video therapy services, email ieso's customer success manager.

Thoughts of harm or suicide?

We are not a crisis or emergency service. If you need help now, visit our mental health crisis Cornwall webpage or call the 24/7 mental health response line on 0800 038 5300 for support and advice.

Video appointments

We provide video appointments using Attend Anywhere. Join your video appointment.

Waiting times

We expect 12,500 people to access Talking Therapies a year across a range of services. We assess 93% of people within 6 weeks. Some services receive more referrals than others and these median waiting times give you a guide as to what you can expect.

Current wait time in days

  • Counselling for depression: 41
  • Couples therapy for depression: 25.5
  • High intensity cognitive behavioural therapy: 69
  • Interpersonal psychological therapy: 88
  • Low intensity guided self-help: 119
  • Mindfulness: 34

This information is updated monthly. Data correct at 30 November 2023.

Case study: Bethany Davis, Older Adults Champion

Beth is a psychological wellbeing practitioner and 1 of 4 older adults champions within our Talking Therapies service. We caught up with her to find out more about what she does in her champion role.

What is your specific champion role about?

We want to increase the accessibility of our services for people over the age of 65. This group actually respond quicker to cognitive behavioural therapy than younger age groups do, but unfortunately, we only have a few over 65s currently accessing Talking Therapies.

We want to try and improve our communications with other teams, like those in secondary care services. We are trying to forge stronger relationships with them because they might be working with people who could benefit from Talking Therapies, or equally we might have people we can refer onto them as well. We want to look more broadly at communication channels which might help us reach older adults too.

We research the latest best practice guides around working with older adults, so that we can share the most up-to-date resources and materials with our fellow clinicians within the service. For example, we know that progressive muscle relaxation works well with older adults. It’s about us being aware of the tools and techniques that will help us deliver the best results for these specific patient groups.

Are there particular mental health issues facing older adults?

Often for older adults their worries can be quite different to those in younger age groups. For example, they can be more likely to worry about their health and ageing, rather than say, money stresses or relationship worries. We try to ensure that our clinical workforce is aware of these nuances and that they recognise the different focuses that our older patients may have.

In what ways might you then work differently with older adults?

There are some slightly different techniques and approaches we use with older adults. We can adapt how we do behavioural activation for example. Behavioural activation is type of therapy that aims to help people with depression to take simple, practical steps towards enjoying life again. Within this approach for older adults, we might consider their physical health a little more. So, when we look at identifying people’s values, asking them about what they used to do that they value from, looking at how they could get that value from something similar that might be adapted in some way to enable them to do it in-line with their physical health or pain management.

We run Young at Heart courses for people aged 65 and over. These are 4 session courses where we look at a range of ways to boost mood, manage anxieties, and focus on how to continue to grow in later life. We’ve had some positive feedback on these sessions so far. The participants have shown good recovery scores too. They are going well and we’re looking forward to offering more of these courses in the coming months.

If people still need more therapy following a Young at Heart course, we can think about one-to-one treatment or other courses. We had a lady recently who had difficulties centred around her sleep, so after she completed our Young at Heart course, she’s taken up a Sleep Well course to improve her recovery further.

What made you want to take on this additional champion role?

Before I joined the service, I was a senior in a care home, so I have the right kind of knowledge and background experience of working with older adults. I thought I could use that experience to help us address some of the challenges we face with increasing access to people in those age categories.

Case study: Tamsin Nicholls, Learning Difficulties Champion

Tamsin Nicholls is a Learning Difficulties Champion within our Talking Therapies service. She has been a psychological wellbeing practitioner for over 2 years and is using her experience of dyspraxia and information processing dyslexia to help the service become more inclusive for people using our services.

"My day mostly consists of supporting people with assessments and treating clients. I work with people either over the telephone, by video or face to face, and use cognitive behavioural therapy to support them.

"I have only recently become a learning difficulties champion, so my role is still in its infancy. However, I already have a better understanding of how we could improve our services and provide materials specifically for people with learning difficulties. We are looking at the demographics of our learning difficulties clients, along with information about access rates and identifying other limitations we have as a service.

"I am currently awaiting a diagnosis for ADHD and autism and as a champion, would like us to achieve a more joined up approach across the mental health service. I am interested in how we can better work with charities, support groups and colleges. I hope we can achieve increased awareness and dedicated support including access to training for staff who support people with learning needs.

"As a service, Talking Therapies can really help those with learning difficulties. We can do this through increasing awareness of mental health, by normalising symptoms by using our channels to talk about them. We can help patients to work through things themselves by using specific home practice materials. We can also develop some of our training so that it really speaks to and supports people with learning difficulties."