ACP joins leading mental health organisations in calling for better access to psychological therapies

Twenty leading mental health organisations are calling for better access to psychological therapies. 

The ACP contributed to a WNTT statement sent to all political parties asking for:

  • Commitment to increasing access to psychological therapy for children and adults urgently needed in party manifestos.
  • Shorter waiting times 
  • Better quality provision, including the sustainability of well-trained specialists 
  • More joined up and integrated services

Despite NHS targets increasing, most people with mental health issues still can’t access the therapy they need. Ahead of the General Election on the 8 June 2017, We Need To Talk, a coalition of 20 mental health charities, professional organisations, Royal Colleges and service users has issued an urgent plea for more access to psychological therapies on the NHS.

We Need To Talk is also calling for increased access to services and greater capacity, a maximum 28 day waiting time target and better quality services - including more therapy sessions, more choice, and properly trained therapists (such as ACP registered child and adolescent psychotherapists) and joined up services to stop people getting lost between child and adult services.

The NHS target to provide psychological therapy to those with common mental health conditions is set to rise to 25 per cent by 2020 (from 15 percent), but most people still won’t be helped. Even in cases of severe mental illness, like psychosis, around half of people do not receive psychological therapy or must wait over six and even 12 weeks to receive the care they need.

ACP Chair, Heather Stewart said:  "Children and young people with mental health problems are still not getting the service and support they desperately need."

She also highlighted that: "Changes in training and commissioning around children’s mental health means that many CAMHS teams can only apply short term 'sticking plaster' treatments, even for those with the most complex mental health problems. We urge the government to invest to ensure that there is a properly trained and experienced workforce able to deliver a more comprehensive and readily available service."

Professor Peter Kinderman, President, British Psychological Society agrees and argues that parity of esteem and provision, can only happen with significant investment: 

"All our mainstream political parties have paid lip-service to 'parity of esteem' in mental health care. But what people need - what people deserve - is genuine parity of provision. That means investing in our mental health services and in the training of skilled professionals so that we can ensure that everyone who would benefit can access those evidence based psychological therapies for which there is so much demand. It's time for the policies to follow the rhetoric." 

Read the full document sent to all the political parties here