We Need To Talk is a coalition campaign for better access for talking therapies for those who need it. Mental health charities, Royal colleges, service providers and professional organisations have come together with a common belief that talking therapies are effective for treating mental illnesses.
Recently, the campaign published the report We Still Need To Talk. It explains how people feel regarding the current state of referral, waiting time and quality of talking therapies under the NHS and how beneficial talking therapies are. It reveals shocking statistics, like ‘One in five people with severe mental illness are waiting more than a year to get psychological therapies’ and ‘58 per cent of people weren’t offered choice in the type of therapies they received’. Whilst the NHS provides a choice of treatment and place of treatment for patients with physical illnesses this is still not happening with those receiving treatment for mental illness, one survey responder saying ‘We were referred to a bi-weekly full day group therapy programme almost 50 miles away from home. This is not do-able.’
I am a firm believer that increasing the availability of talking therapies would greatly help those to stay or to return to work. A better mental health means less days off sick and better productivity. The report showed these statistics:
‘In 2008, it was estimated that £1 billion in economic benefits could be achieved each year by extending NICE-recommended treatments to all those with depression, with treatment costs vastly outweighed by higher government revenues and reduced welfare payments, as well as wider social benefits.’
I urge people to read the report (link below) and to sign the petition to introduce a waiting time for talking therapies – from time of referral – to 28 days, or sooner in serious circumstances. It is appalling that the NHS has no target or maximum waiting time for talking therapy or treatment for those with a mental illness. With an introduction to a target or maximum waiting time treatment for those who desperately need it will become more available, having a much lesser effect on peoples’ personal lives and employment, as well as avoiding the risk of developing a serious, and more long term, mental illness.
*All statistics and information gained from the We Still Need to Talk report.