Improving Access to Psychological Therapies

Programme Lead: Darren Vella

The Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme began in 2008 and has transformed treatment of adult anxiety disorders and depression in England. Over 900,000 people now access these services each year. The Five-Year Forward View for Mental Health has committed to improving the quality of care and expanding services.

Priorities for service development

  • Expanding services so that at least 1.5m adults access care each year by 2020/21. This means that IAPT services nationally will move from seeing around 15% of all people with anxiety and depression each year to 25%, and all areas will have more IAPT services.
  • Focusing on people with long term conditions. Two thirds of people with a common mental health problem also have a long-term physical health problem, greatly increasing the cost of their care by an average of 45% more than those without a mental health problem. By integrating IAPT services with physical health services the NHS can provide better support to this group of people and achieve better outcomes.
  • Supporting people to find or stay in work. Good work contributes to good mental health, and IAPT services can better contribute to improved employment outcomes.
  • Improving quality and people’s experience of services. Improving the numbers of people who recover, reducing geographic variation between services, and reducing inequalities in access and outcomes for population groups are all important aspects of the development of IAPT services.

Find out more about Improving Access to Psychological Therapies and download resources