NHS welcomes record high recovery rate for common mental illness

New data published today show that a record number of people made a recovery from mental ill health, due to NHS talking therapies last year. The annual report on NHS England’s Improving Access to Talking Therapies (IAPT) programme, shows that half of people completing a course of treatment for conditions including depression and anxiety, recovered from their condition.

The review, published by NHS Digital, states that 1.4 million people were referred for IAPT during 2016/17, with more patients getting care within six weeks compared with the year before. The 49.3 per cent of people making a recovery is a 7 per cent increase on 2012/13, when records for this service began.

The NHS Digital report covers the last full year for which data are available, since when there have been further improvements, with over 50 per cent of people making a recovery following IAPT in every calendar month of 2017, in line with the recommended standard.

The NHS’ Director of Mental Health, Claire Murdoch, welcomed the report, stating that the health service is “reversing years of under-investment” to tackle mental illness.

The NHS Digital report shows that in the last full year, 2016/17:

  • 525,000 people were referred for and completed a course of talking therapy treatment.
  • 49.3 per cent of people completing IAPT treatment for anxiety or depression recovered from their condition.
  • Waiting times for IAPT have improved, with 98.2 per cent of people getting care within 18 weeks and nearly nine in ten starting treatment within six weeks.

Claire Murdoch, NHS England’s National Mental Health Director, said:

“More people are getting faster access to increasingly effective NHS mental health care. On key measures like rising funding, high recovery rates, lower waiting times and increased referral numbers, NHS talking therapies are delivering better outcomes for adults with mental ill health.

“The NHS is reversing years of under-investment in mental health, with £1.6 billion extra funding going into local services since 2013. Putting mental health on a level footing with physical care remains a priority for NHS England, and from April this year every part of the country will be required to increase the share of their budgets going towards mental health care. No one would claim that the transformation we all want to see will happen overnight, but with a rising number of people getting successful treatment for common conditions like depression and anxiety, it’s clear that we are making important progress.”