Cash boost for psychological therapies to treat mental health
£400 million is to be invested into improving access to NICE-approved psychological therapies, as part of the Government's new strategy to transform the mental health and well-being of the nation.
At least one in four people will experience a mental health problem at some point in their life and mental ill-health represents up to 23 per cent of the total burden of ill health in the UK - the largest single cause of illness.
The No health without mental health Strategy, published today, outlines how a new emphasis on early intervention and prevention will help tackle the underlying causes of mental ill-health.
It sets out how the Government will work with the NHS, local government and the third sector to help people recover and challenge stigma.
Central to these plans is a drive to improve access to modern, evidence-based psychological therapies over the next four years.
This will extend the current programme available to offer personalised support to 3.2 million people across the country, making available a choice of psychological therapies such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Counselling for Depression, and Interpersonal Psychotherapy and ensuring access for anyone who needs it.
NICE recommends a range of psychological therapies to treat people with depression and anxiety disorders to be used in a system of stepped care.
Under the new plans, patients will be able to request a referral via their GP or contact the provider directly for a self-referral consultation.
Extending psychological therapies to all those with mental health problems will result in one million people recovering from their condition by 2014 and 75,000 people getting their lives back on track by returning to work, education, training or volunteering, the strategy suggests. It will also create over £700 million of savings to the public sector in healthcare, tax and welfare gains.
The strategy also sets out a focus on measurable outcomes and the NICE quality standards that deliver them, rather than top-down process targets.
A suite of mental health quality standards will be developed to provide an authoritative definition of what high-quality care looks like for a particular service.
Quality standards have already been produced for dementia services and are being developed for a number of services relating to mental health problems in adults, including problems such as depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, and to cover the patient experience, as well as for services relating to bipolar disorder in children and young people.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: “The evidence is clear: mental health needs to be addressed with the same urgency as physical health. We need to end the stigma attached to mental illness, to set an example by talking about the issue openly and candidly and ensure everyone can access the support and information they need.
“The strategy today shows how we will put people at the heart of everything we do, from a new focus on early intervention to increased funding for psychological therapy, so that everyone has a fair opportunity to get their lives back on track.”
Secretary of State for Health, Andrew Lansley said: “There is no good health without good mental health. Too often in the past, mental health issues have been marginalised. This cross-government strategy will finally place good mental health at the heart of everything we do.
“For the first time, people of all ages with mental health problems will be able to receive personalised care to reflect their own needs.
“The NHS will also no longer focus its attention on treatment alone - but will move towards early intervention and prevention to deliver outcomes for patients which are amongst the best in the world.”
Mind's Chief Executive Paul Farmer added: “Investing £400 million over the next four years towards the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies programme is an important step, as we know this is a highly effective and economic way of supporting people who are in mental distress.”
2 February 2011