We need to give people with mental health difficulties more treatment options
We were pleased to see HSJ highlight the latest figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre on the recovery of people undergoing treatment on the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies programme (“Therapy scheme leads to few ‘recoveries’”, 31 January).
‘The reality is that people experiencing mental health difficulties often have relatively few options’
While the IAPT programme has helped a great many people experiencing anxiety and depression, and is indeed a world leader in treating people presenting with symptoms of poor mental health, it is generally accepted today that provision of psychological therapies on the NHS needs to properly embrace a broader range of therapies to include those more suited to treating people with complex conditions.
The British Psychoanalytic Council is one of several organisations lobbying for this change on the NHS. We all share concern over inadequate help for people with serious difficulties, and for people with chronic mental health conditions such as personality disorders who could benefit from talking therapies.
As Nick Clegg said at the recent launch of the government’s mental health action plan, treating mental illness as the ‘poor cousin’ of physical health problems is ‘plain wrong’.
‘The NHS needs to provide talking therapies for those of us with more complex needs’
The article points out that some of the 51 per cent of IAPT referrals are not leading to treatment, half of these because of people declining or dropping out of treatment. It would be useful to know why people dropped out, but the issue is likely to be one of choice.
The reality is that people experiencing mental health difficulties often have relatively few options compared to people experiencing physical health problems. While there are several options available in the IAPT programme, they are all short term approaches.
At the same time, many existing psychological services that provide more intensive interventions are under considerable pressure. The NHS needs to provide talking therapies for those of us with more complex needs.
Gary Fereday, chief executive of the British Psychoanalytic Council