Charities welcome major boost for psychological therapies in England
Posted Wednesday 10 October 2007
Five national mental health charities today joined together to welcome the Secretary of State for Health's commitment to ensuring all GPs in England can offer their patients psychological therapies within six years.
The Mental Health Foundation, Mind, Rethink, the Sainsbury Centre and YoungMinds are campaigning together for government guidance on psychological therapies to be implemented nationally. Today, the Government announced funding that will rise to £170 million a year by 2010/11 for its Improving Access to Psychological Therapies programme.
The announcement is a massive boost for people across the country. It should mean that the long waiting times, of as much as 18 months, will be a thing of the past within six years. It should help more people keep their jobs, stay in education and maintain family life. It will be a worthwhile investment for all of us.
To make the most of this historic opportunity, we now need further investment in research on the benefits of different psychological therapies, a robust system of regulation for professionals and a national waiting time measure for access to therapy.
Andrew McCulloch, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation, said:
"This announcement is very good news. We hope this will result in the extension of psychological therapies to people of all ages, especially older people, young people and to ethnic minority groups, who are often harder to reach and less likely to be offered talking therapy treatments by their GPs. It is particularly appalling that young people currently suffer long waits to see a therapist, especially as there are few other recommended options for helping them at this crucial time in their lives."
Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of mental health charity Mind, said: "Here's the victory that service users have been waiting for so long. We are delighted that on World Mental Health Day, this significant breakthrough in mental health care has occurred, meaning that finally people will be getting the help they want when they are most in need. For years, people have been telling us that talking treatments can mean all the difference between mental wellbeing and mental distress. The Government's pledge will transform the lives of people with mental health problems, which is a testament to all the people who have campaigned so hard on this for so many years."
Paul Corry, Rethink director of public affairs, said: "This is excellent news. The Government is backing up its commitment with a real funding pledge. It is important that the Government makes a link between its different targets in this area and opens up access to psychological therapies to people with severe mental illness."
Angela Greatley, Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health chief executive, said: "There are millions of people across the country whose quality of life could be improved vastly by timely access to good quality psychological therapy. Today's vital new investment should help people in work to keep their jobs, offering them help before they lose their jobs and go down the road to long-term unemployment.
"Psychological therapy should be offered equally to the thousands of people in the criminal justice system to help them get their lives back on track."
Notes to Editors
The Department of Health today announced that £170 million would be invested in psychological therapy provision by 2010/11. Funding will rise gradually over the next three years from the current smaller-scale Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme.
In October 2006, the Mental Health Foundation, Mind, Rethink, the Sainsbury Centre and YoungMinds together published We Need to Talk. It called for a major expansion in psychological therapy provision for people of all ages, for reductions in waiting times and for more research into a range of psychological therapies.
For media enquiries please contact:
Fran Gorman, MHF, 020 7803 1128
Claire Ashby, Mind, 020 8215 2238
Andy Bell, Sainsbury Centre, 020 7827 8353, 07810 503638.