Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT), is a primary care mental health service, that provides support for individuals with mild to moderate anxiety and depression.

The Mind & Body Programme is working to support clinical services to ensure that patients’ and service users’ mental and physical health needs are met and IAPT services are a key component of this. IAPT services are increasingly offering mental health support tailored to those with Medically Unexplained Symptoms (MUS) and people with long-term conditions (LTCs) as well as mild to moderate co-morbid psychological symptoms.

As an NHS England priority, and as outlined in Implementing the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health, psychological therapy provision can benefit from being integrated into existing medical pathways and services, in either primary or secondary care services. These tailored, physical health specific psychological therapies are essential to meeting the challenge of supporting a growing number of people with LTCs and MUS to improve their quality of life.

What are we doing about it?

We are working with Southwark and Lambeth Talking Therapies, our local IAPT services provided by South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, to support their journey towards integrated IAPT services for LTCs and MUS. We are doing this by:

  • fostering collaboration with secondary care services e.g. embedding a Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner (IAPT therapist) in specialist clinics at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, such gastroenterology including digestive diseases, such as irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease, as well as breast cancer care
  • developing links with Local Care Networks in Southwark and Lambeth to support collaboration between IAPT and primary care services
  • ensuring that clinicians, managers, and service users across King’s Health Partners are aware of the services currently being offered by Southwark and Lambeth Talking Therapies for people with LTCs and MUS, such as Psychoeducation and specific Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) delivered via a range of channels such as groups, on a one-to-one basis or through evidence based computerised programmes.

These improvements also link to our ongoing work with the Resource for Electronic Development of Interventions for Talking Therapies in Long-Term Conditions (RE-EDITT) project and their Compass tool to provide online CBT programmes for people with anxiety and depression, and LTCs.