Success for talking therapies pilot in tackling depression

The government’s programme to improve access to talking therapies has received a boost after an evaluation of a pilot identified significant improvements for people with depression and anxiety.

The study of the Doncaster Primary Care Trust pilot found three-quarters of patients referred for treatment from August 2006-August 2007 who completed programmes were found to be in remission or recovery.

Doncaster was one of two “demonstration sites” for the government’s Improving Access to Psychological Therapies programme, which is being expanded to 115 areas this month.

Most patients received a low-intensity form of cognitive behavioural therapy, which involves helping patients to overcome negative thoughts.

Professor David Richards of York University, who carried out the research, said: “Although follow-up data on these patients will be important to investigate the lasting effects of the treatment, our results tell us [this] is an effective way to give depression and anxiety suffers the psychological help they need.”

The study was published in the British Journal of Clinical Psychology.

Study results

  • 869 patients were referred from August 2006-August 2007 completed treatment programme.
  • 76% of those with depression and 74% of those with anxiety were in recovery or remission by the end of the period.
  • Patients received two hours and 45 minutes of treatment on average.

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