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Call to ensure access to therapies for depression

Published in Press Releases on September 18th 2015

Mental health service users and professional bodies call on the Government to ensure that patients can access a range of talking therapies for depression

The campaigning organisation for people with experience of depression, Depression Alliance, along with the leading ;professional bodies in the mental health sector – including the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the British Psychological Society and the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy – have urged the Government to do more to address the lack of choice of talking therapy available in the NHS.

The campaigning organisation for people with experience of depression, Depression Alliance, along with the leading professional bodies in the mental health sector – including the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the British Psychological Society and the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy – have urged the Government to do more to address the lack of choice of talking therapy available in the NHS.

A letter published by 'the Guardian' today sets out their concerns:

“The prime minister’s acknowledgement in parliament of the importance of people being able to access psychological therapies for mental ill-health was heartening (Corbyn answers critics by asking the questions in a different way, 17 September). In response to the leader of the opposition’s question about mental health, David Cameron singled out cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), which is just one of the talking treatments recommended for depression and anxiety by the National Institute for Health and Care and Excellence. Evidence shows that patients respond best and recover more frequently if they are able to have some choice about the kind of help they receive.

While the increasing availability of psychological therapy is to be lauded, we must press on with ensuring that we deliver help that meets the needs of all patients, as we are still failing to help nearly half the people being treated. Surveys also indicate that patients would welcome a greater choice of psychological therapies, so we would urge the government to ensure that choice of treatment is made a key priority for the coming parliament, which is reflected with additional funding in the forthcoming comprehensive spending review”.

One of the signatories to the letter, Susanna Abse, Chief Executive of the Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships, commented: "NICE guidelines recommend that a range of different types of psychological therapies should be available for those experiencing depression. However, few people are ever offered that choice. Given that the current system is failing to help over half of people who accessing its Improving Access to Psychological Therapies service, it is high time that the Government worked to ensure that the requisite numbers of practitioners are trained and available to deliver the variety of talking therapies which NICE recommends and which patients so clearly want".

The list of signatories is as follows:

  • Gary Fereday, British Psychoanalytic Council
  • Susanna Abse, Chief executive, Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships
  • Sue Mizen, Chair, Royal College of Psychiatrists
  • Jamie Hacker Hughes, President, British Psychological Society
  • Janet Weisz, Chair, UK Council for Psychotherapy
  • Heather Stewart, Chair, Association of Child Psychotherapists
  • Emer O’Neill, Chief executive, Depression Alliance
  • Louise Chunn, Founder, welldoing.org
  • Oliver James, Psychologist and author
  • Andrew Reeves, Chair, British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy
  • Professor Brett Kahr, Senior clinical research fellow in psychotherapy and mental health, Centre for Child Mental Health
  • Susie Orbach, Psychoanalyst and writer
  • Angela Drizi, Trustee, International Society for Psychological and Social Approaches to Psychosis
  • Jeremy Clarke, Albany Trust; Association for Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy in the NHS
  • Andrew Radford, Chief executive, BEAT

For further information contact:

  • Paula Scott, PR consultant T: 07932 740221, E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Notes to editors

The Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships (TCCR) provides a comprehensive range of affordable counselling services for couples and individuals facing relationship problems. To find out more about the range of services offered visit www.tccr.org.uk or call 020 7380 1975.

TCCR also runs a variety of practitioner trainings, ranging from introductory courses to doctoral programmes in couple counselling and psychotherapy.

TCCR is recognised in its field as a centre of advanced practice and study, both nationally and internationally. Our ethos is to develop practice, research and policy activities which complement and inform the development of services to couples.

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