Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT)

Improving access to psychological therapies is a national programme to increase the availability of ‘talking therapies’ on the NHS. IAPT is primarily for people who have mild to moderate mental health difficulties, such as depression, anxiety, phobias and post traumatic stress disorder. 

These conditions are treated using a variety of therapeutic techniques, including cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), interpersonal therapy (IPT) and couples therapy. 

IAPT seeks to use the least intrusive method of care possible to treat people. This is often called a ‘stepped care mode’ and means that the patient is generally offered a low intensity therapy in the first instance. This can include computerised CBT (cCBT) and guided self help. If low intensity treatments are unsuccessful or inappropriate the patient will be ‘stepped up’ to high intensity. This often takes the form of one on one CBT. 

London has IAPT services in 30 of 31 PCTs of varying size and capacity. This translates to approximately 60% geographical coverage across the capital. 500 new therapists have also been recruited in London. 

To date over 60,000 people have accessed London IAPT services, 2,300 have moved off sick pay and benefits and services are moving towards the target 50% recovery rate. 

You can find out more about the IAPT programme, visit IAPT (http://www.iapt.nhs.uk/) and Working for Wellness (http://www.workingforwellness.org.uk/).