It provides a snapshot of the numbers of people being referred and receiving treatment in England and whether talking therapies are helping to improve mental health problems.
The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) has today released the first annual set of data about the government’s Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme. It provides a snapshot of the numbers of people being referred and receiving treatment in England and whether talking therapies are helping to improve mental health problems.
The data shows:
• There were 884,000 referrals made for talking therapies in 2012/13
• Of these, around half resulted in people entering treatment
• In 269,000 cases, people dropped out or declined the treatment that was offered to them
• 144,000 referrals resulted in people having at least two therapy sessions. Of these, 57 per cent showed improvement in their mental health.
The HSCIC says that because this is new data, some of these figures may be under-reported, as sometimes happens when collecting new data.
Mind is part of the We Need to Talk coalition of charities that campaigns for better access to talking therapies.
Vicki Nash, Head of Policy and Campaigns at Mind, said:
“This is an important set of data that helps shed light on how IAPT is performing. We understand that under-reporting has been a problem and that this will improve as time goes on. Good quality data is essential for commissioning mental health services and we look forward to seeing more reliable data in future.
“The gap between the numbers of people being referred and those actually entering treatment is cause for significant concern and echoes our own research, as part of the We Need to Talk coalition, which shows that people are waiting far too long between referral and starting therapy. In our survey, one in 10 people waited over a year and more than half waited more than three months for an initial assessment, often with a further long wait to begin treatment.
“The longer someone has to wait for the treatment they need, the greater the risk that they will become more unwell and need more intensive treatment further down the line. Mind has heard many terrible stories of relationship breakdowns, people becoming estranged from their children, or people struggling to stay in work while they wait for treatment, while others become so unwell they harm themselves or become suicidal.
“The data also shows that many people are declining or dropping out of treatment. This may be because of the lack of choice that people have in the sort of talking treatment they are offered. Different therapies work well for different people, so it’s crucial that everyone is able to choose the type of therapy that’s right for them.
“That 57 per cent of people who continued treatment showed improvement proves how effective talking therapies can be. Mind is calling on NHS in England to offer a full range of psychological therapies to everyone who needs them within 28 days of requesting a referral and on Clinical Commissioning Groups to commission services that meet the needs of their local communities.”
Find out more about the We Need to Talk campaign.