We’ve reissued our call for a greater choice of psychological therapy services through the NHS for people seeking mental health treatments.
Our Chief Executive Anna Daroy said our members could be employed to expand the NHS workforce and to deliver a greater choice and meet demand.
This comes as nine online talking therapies for anxiety or depression have been recommended by NICE for use in the NHS while further evidence is gathered.
They use cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) techniques via an app or website and include the support and involvement of an NHS Talking Therapies clinician or psychological wellbeing practitioner.
Matt Smith-Lilley, our Policy and Engagement Lead (Mental Health), said it was important people were offered a choice of therapy and not just the treatment that was available.
Matt said “We welcome any initiative that expands the availability of mental health interventions for more people.
“However, the absolutely fundamental principle in all decisions around treatment options is choice. Choice of what therapy a person chooses to receive, choice about how and where they access their care but also a choice of who delivers their care.
“Research evidence is clear, ultimate success of any intervention increases when a service user is involved in co-creating their care plan.
“When commissioning services, it should be remembered that a one-size fits all approach to treatment isn’t appropriate and that they’ll need to commission a range of interventions to meet the needs of different service users.”
Anna Daroy added: “We want to see a range of interventions so people are able to make an informed choice – and our members need to be central to that.
“Shortages in the mental health workforce is arguably the largest single barrier to more ambitiously expanding the availability and accessibility of mental health services.
“We represent more than 66,000 counsellors and psychotherapists across the UK and there is a vast untapped potential workforce available for the NHS if they can make entering the workforce more accessible.
“Far too many counsellors and psychotherapists, however, find themselves overlooked and undervalued and, as a consequence, the public isn’t getting access to the support and expertise our members can offer.”
Mark Chapman, interim director of medical technology and digital evaluation, at NICE, said: “We know NHS Talking Therapies services are in demand and people are facing waits of several weeks.
“A part of the solution could be the use of digitally enabled therapies recommended by our committee which could increase the number of people receiving the treatment they need sooner.
“One of our priorities is to get the best care to people fast while at the same time ensuring value for money for the taxpayer – these digitally enabled therapies do both.
“Every person seen by an NHS Talking Therapies clinician or practitioner is assessed so their needs can be fully understood. The choice of a digitally enabled therapy must be the right one for the individual, ensuring that they get the care they need.”