“The Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme began in 2008 and has transformed the treatment of adult anxiety disorders and depression in England”. NHS England
But how long do you have to wait?
Paul Farmer from the charity Mind and co-author of Thriving at Work – Stevenson/Farmer review of mental health and employers (Oct 2017) recognises that IAPT has been a key factor in enabling access to support and improving mental well-being.
And yet, contact with IAPT services, which provide support such as counselling to adults with conditions, like depression, anxiety and post-traumatic, stress disorder, is proving difficult, with patients being left in ‘mental health limbo’ according to a BBC report in December 2019.
Initially 9 in 10 patients are seen within the 6-week target time. However, this is usually for initial assessment and basic advice. Subsequent follow up appointments can be anything from 28 to 90 days. It is these second appointments that normally kick start treatment. The number of people waiting for second appointments has been growing steadily since 2015. The overall wait for second appointment is now over 2 months.
Interestingly NHS England identify that about 100,000 people a year drop out between their first and second appointment. They also suggest IAPT has been a victim of its own success with over 1.5 million referrals last year which was up by more than 10% on the year before, although most do not end up receiving treatment.
For those people who receive support, 7 out of 10 showed significant improvement in their mental health.
What does this tell us? The importance of talking, being listened to and getting timely support.
Read more about IAPT at https://www.england.nhs.uk/mental-health/adults/iapt/