"The "scandalous" scale of the NHS's neglect of mental illness has been described in a report which suggests only a quarter of those who need treatment are getting it.The report claims that millions of pounds are being wasted by not addressing the real cause of many people's health problems. Nearly half of all the ill-health suffered by people of working age has a psychological root and is profoundly disabling, says the report from a team of economists, psychologists, doctors and NHS managers, published by the London School of Economics.
Talking therapies such as cognitive behaviour therapy relieves anxiety and depression in 40% of those treated, says the Mental Heath Policy Group led by Lord Layard. But despite government funding to train more therapists, availability is patchy with some NHS commissioners not spending the money as intended, and services for children being cut in some areas. "It is a real scandal that we have 6 million people with depression or crippling anxiety conditions and 700,000 children with problem behaviours, anxiety or depression," says the report. "Yet three quarters of each group get no treatment."
"IAPT has created a revolution in mental health by establishing a national competency framework for therapists, by training them to a high standard and by carefully monitoring their outcomes. Many readers will be amazed to hear that 10 years ago only 11% of British psychiatrists regularly administered any objective measure of mood when treating depression. Now all IAPT workers do so and the results, which are available on the NHS Information Centre website, are in line with the assumptions of the economic case. Latest figures show that 44% of people who have some form of treatment in IAPT recover. Many more (around 65%) show worthwhile improvements. In addition, the number of people who have moved off sick pay and benefits exceeds expectation.
...The same story emerges with service budgets. IAPT is expected to offer treatment to a modest 15% of people with depression and anxiety by 2014. On average services currently provide for around two thirds of that. However, instead of expanding, there are signs that cash-strapped commissioners are cutting back. For example, one well-performing London IAPT service recently had its budget cut by 30%. Such cuts make no economic or humanitarian sense. As evidence-based psychological treatments save the NHS more than they cost, we should be doing more, not less, in tight economic times."