In response to the report Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of the mental health charity Mind, said:
“This report raises concerns that thousands of people still aren’t accessing the talking treatments they need to manage their mental health in a timely way. Early intervention is crucial to preventing deterioration, which is why it’s so important that people are referred quickly to psychological therapies. The data shows that the challenge for the NHS is now to ensure that the increasing demand for talking treatments is being met.
“Recent research by Mind, as part of the We Need to Talk coalition, found that one in ten people had to wait over a year between being referred for talking therapy and having an assessment. Waiting this long can be incredibly damaging and our findings also showed that while waiting for talking treatments four in ten people harmed themselves, one in six attempted to take their own lives and at least six per cent of people ended up being admitted to hospital.
“We know that some areas are able to provide exemplary access to talking therapies but we need to see this everywhere. The Government has now given its first serious commitment to addressing the long-standing imbalance between physical and mental health services. From April 2015 they will introduce waiting times for some mental health services, including talking treatments, meaning that for the first time ever, people will now know the maximum length they can expect to wait. This is a landmark moment for services, but we now need to see these important ambitions translate into tangible improvements in access and quality for everyone trying to get the help they need.”