Sunday, March 05, 2017

6 big ideas from the WGS = #3) Improve Mental Health - Create programmes like IAPT which give free access to evidence based psychological therapies

Improving mental health should be at least as high a priority as improving physical health.  

Mental illness is extremely common and can have a vert serious impact on  individuals, families and society as a whole. 

Significant progress has been made in the last 50 years in our ability to effectively treat common mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety. 

Yet not enough is being done to make these treatments widely and cheaply available.

In the UK Lord Layard, who spoke at the WGS, led a team that wrote  the Depression Report  which was instrumental in persuading the government to create IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies). 

The Depression Report

The  IAPT programme pays for itself, since the economic cost of mental illness is more than the cost of training therapists and providing therapy. In  England and Wales, at least, there is much better access than ever before to evidence-based and effective therapies such as CBT to treat those suffering from common mental illnesses. 

Whilst  countries without a National Health Service may not be able to adopt identical schemes  to IAPT more can still be done throughout the world. For example, they could subsidise the training and provision of therapists of evidence-based therapies.  Educational programmes about mental health should also be encouraged, including taking steps to reduce the stigma associated with mental health problems.

But don't take my word for it. 

I asked Lord Layard two key questions.

1) "Have other countries adopted an IAPT-like approach?"

 2) "Should they? "

Lord Layard's answer?

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