Mental health campaigners have called on the government to improve access to talking therapies in the community after the number of people being offered them fell.
A Healthcare Commission survey of 19,000 community mental health service users found the proportion offered talking therapy fell from 40 per cent to 39 per cent since last year.
Although 77 per cent rated their overall care as excellent, fewer than half of service users said they had the phone number of someone from the health service to contact for out-of- hours crisis support.
A review of community mental health services, also published by the commission last week, praised them for generally performing well but said chronic problems remained. The review of local implementation teams, which are responsible for
delivering services, found 9 per cent were excellent, 45 per cent good, 43 per cent were fair and only 3 per cent were weak.
But 84 per cent of teams rated fair or weak on the management of medicines.
Rethink’s director of public affairs, Paul Corry, said: “Access to support such as cognitive behavioural therapy for depression is essential.
“Yet talking therapies are sometimes seen as a soft option by hard pressed staff looking for ways to cut back NHS expenditure.”