Mental health service users have difficulties accessing talking therapies

The vast majority of mental health service users are happy with
the NHS care they receive but problems remain in accessing talking
therapies, a major survey has revealed, writes Simeon

The Healthcare Commission survey of 26,500 secondary mental
health service users, who have been referred to outpatient wards or
community teams, finds 77 per cent rated their care over the
previous 12 months as excellent, very good or good.

But only two-fifths had received talking therapies, despite the
fact that 86 per cent who had been offered them found them
definitely helpful or helpful to some extent.

The survey comes in the week Labour peer Lord Layard called for
10,000 therapists to be trained to offer talking therapy on the NHS
to all who need it.

Layard told the inaugural Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health
lecture that therapy should be offered to people with depression
and anxiety through a network of 250 national treatment centres,
headed by psychologists.

He suggested the 10,000 new therapists should be led by clinical
psychologists, supplemented by more narrowly trained therapists who
could receive two years’ part-time training while working for
the NHS.

The commission survey finds 93 per cent of respondents had taken
medication for their mental health problems but one in five had not
been involved in decisions about it. More than a third had not been
told of any possible side effects.

About half of respondents had been given an out-of-hours crisis
number and a similar number of those who needed help with
accommodation or finding work had received it.

The survey finds 84 per cent of respondents had seen a
psychiatrist in the past 12 months and 80 per cent felt they had
treated them with respect and dignity.

Survey results from


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