Psychological Therapies annual conference will focus on the importance of the provision of the psychological therapy services and the increasing attention it has received over recent years. Some of the most significant factors to have influenced policy over the past decade include:
- Concerns about access to services
- Recommendations from the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) on the use of evidence-based psychological therapies
- The economic argument for improved access (the ‘Layard Report’)
- The development of the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) Programme.
In 2005 Lord Layard diagnosed depression as “Britain’s Biggest Social Problem”. The cost, he argued, of untreated common mental problems simply dwarfed the cost of investing in effective psychological therapies that could reduce the burden of disease to our economy and society. It was an unassailable argument that persuaded the Treasury to support a national IAPT program. And as one of its key architects in 2008, Lord Layard envisaged it would take us 6 years to build a NICE-compliant talking therapies service with capacity to begin to make a real impact. With under a year to go to judgment day the Coalition Government, which has supported IAPT with an additional £450M investment, has published what is probably its final policy position, Closing the Gap, setting out its 25 key priorities in mental health for a final delivery push by 2015. In relation to IAPT it states: “Over 900,000 people will benefit from psychological therapies every year”.
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