One in five depressed people need help their GP cannot provide

New intermediate mental health teams should be set up to support a “neglected majority” who fall between primary and secondary, according to a charity, reports Simeon Brody.

In a policy paper published today, the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health estimates that up to one in five people with depression need help their GP cannot provide.

It says there are about 500 people in each primary care trust who receive specialist treatment but suggests there are a further 1,200 people for whom GP treatment is not enough.

The paper argues they constitute a group “whose problems cannot be managed with confidence in primary care but who are not appropriate for secondary care services”.

Members of the group typically experience continuing mental health difficulties despite several primary care treatment options and their employment or accommodation is frequently at risk because of their condition.

But their illness is not serious enough to warrant acute care, leaving them with no appropriate services, the report argues.

It suggests new intermediate teams, including GPs with a special interest in mental health, counselling psychologists and social workers, should target the group.

The government is expected to announce a talking therapy pilot programme in the next few weeks and the paper suggests the teams could provide a structure for delivering the therapy alongside social support.

SCMH says a pilot intermediate team set up in Ipswich is already helping people who would otherwise have been neglected.

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