At the moment many people with mild to moderate depression find it difficult to access talking therapies, with services patchily spread across the country. This is despite clinical evidence showing that better access to therapies such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) can help cure depression and reduce time off work due to ill-health. Patients also prefer to receive talking therapies rather than medication.
The programme, announced today by Patricia Hewitt in a speech to the National Mental Health Partnership Conference, consists of two demonstration sites in Doncaster and Newham, which will be linked to a regional network of local improvement programmes. The two demonstration
sites will bring together key programmes in the NHS, voluntary sector and local employers to test various models that can be implemented nationally.
Announcing the launch of the programme today, Miss Hewitt said: "Millions of people suffer from mild to moderate mental health problems, and treating them takes up about a third of GPs' time. Too many people are prescribed medication as a quick fix solution, but talking therapies work equally well and patients prefer to receive them.
"We know that people in work have better health than those out of work and the Choosing Health White Paper made clear that work matters - it can improve your mental and physical health, reduce health inequalities and improve life chances for people and their families.
"I hope that these pilot sites will provide real, tangible evidence of the effectiveness of investing in talking therapies. They will help break the cycle of deprivation, where poor health leads to unemployment and wasted lives as people fail to reach their full potential."
I'll believe it when I see it. The NHS just doesn't have the resources to offer reasonable amounts of time in counselling/therapy to everyone who needs it.