clinical psychologists and therapists could be recruited to treat
people with depression
by Angela Hussain
10,000 extra clinical psychologists and therapists could be recruited
into the health service to treat the rising number of people with
depression and anxiety.
follows a statement by an influential government adviser that ministers
are "devoted to the idea" of fulfilling an NHS need for
more therapists to tackle the problem of depression and anxiety
which costs the UK billions in incapacity benefit payments.
Richard Layard - who wrote the Downing Street strategy paper, 'Mental
Health: Britain's Biggest Social Problem? - envisages that 250 new
treatment centres would be the base from which the clinical psychologists
and therapists would work.
Layard envisages that each centre, many attached to a GP surgery,
would have around 20 staff. Half would be clinical psychologists
and half therapists, who might be mental health nurses or social
workers with two years extra training. The basic course of treatment
would provide patients with 10 sessions.
ministers give the plans the go ahead, the centres would herald
an unprecedented boost to the provision and accessibility of psychological
therapies - particularly cognitive behavioural therapy - and the
recruitment and training over the next decade of clinical psychologists
NHS needs 10,000 more people trained to deliver psychological therapies
if it is to tackle Britain's biggest social problem," Lord
Layard said yesterday in a conference speech in London.
therapy should be freely available on the NHS. At present people
with depression or anxiety generally get pills or nothing.
one in 10 people with these conditions get to see a therapist,"
added Lord Layard, a Labour peer and emeritus professor at the London
School of Economics
December last year, the government's national institute for clinical
excellence (NICE) advised that people with mild to moderate depression,
or with moderate anxiety, may benefit more from non-drug treatments
such as counselling and therapy.
Layard told the Guardian newspaper: "There is a tremendous
amount of energy being devoted to this idea [of new treatment centres]
in all the relevant government departments. I am thrilled with the
6, 2004: No evidence that SSRI antidepressants likely to increase
suicidal behaviour, watchdog announces - guidelines also issued
for treatment of depression
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