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More money for talking therapies to target mental health

Talking therapies aimed at remedying mental health problems are to receive a large cash injection and extra staff it was announced by the government on February 26.

Talking therapies aimed at remedying mental health problems are to receive a large cash injection and extra staff it was announced by the government on February 26.

The NHS will be given £170m to set-up the improving access to psychological therapies (IAPT) programme and recruit 3,600 extra staff.

National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines recommends that cognitive behaviour treatments should be used for mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.

Health Secretary Alan Johnson said the program, "has already captured the imagination of primary care trusts up and down the country and is transforming the lives of thousands of people with depression and anxiety disorders."

With government ministers hoping to decrease the number of people on incapacity benefit and raise the level of employment, it is hoped that the IAPT program will see 900,00 more patients with depression treated.

Government data revealed that one in six people suffer from mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety and that GPs spend a third of their time treating them.

Heath minister Ivan Lewis said: "For many people prescribing medication is a successful treatment but psychological therapies have proved to be as effective as drugs in tackling these common mental health problems."

This announcement comes as a debate into the efficacy of antidepressants was sparked by a meta-analysis study by researchers at the University of Hull.

Published by the Pubic Library of Science (PLOS), the report has caused wide spread national press coverage claiming that ëantidepressants don't work.

However, the officials from the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCP), and mental health charity SANE, have all been quick to warn patients not to stop taking their medication.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), manufacturer of the antidepressant Paxil, said: "It is important to emphasise that regulatory bodies around the world have conducted extensive reviews of published and unpublished data for licensed antidepressants and have concluded that these medicines provide benefits to patients."

26th February 2008

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