Most people receiving psychological therapy in Scarborough and Ryedale seen within NHS target time

Most people receiving psychological therapy in Scarborough and Ryedale were being seen within the NHS target time prior to the coronavirus crisis, the latest figures show.

Saturday, 9th May 2020, 8:19 am
Psychological therapy involves clinical support for adults suffering with mental health problems. Photo: PA Images

And while mental health charity Mind said patients elsewhere in the country faced “unacceptably” lengthy waits for treatment before the coronavirus outbreak, it warned that social distancing measures have led to a fall in referrals.

Psychological therapy involves clinical support for adults suffering with mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.

Under the NHS Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme, 75% of people referred should access treatment within six weeks of their assessment, and 95% within 18 weeks.

NHS England data reveals that of the 135 people who had their first psychological therapy treatment in the NHS Scarborough and Ryedale Clinical Commissioning Group in January, 96% had been waiting six weeks or less since their original referral.

That was up from 38% of 145 referrals in January 2019.

However, Geoff Heyes, from Mind, said it is “vital” that the coronavirus pandemic is understood as a mental health crisis, as well as a physical health crisis.

He added: “We know that many people were still waiting an unacceptably long time to access talking therapies before coronavirus and that there is a huge need for mental health support at the moment.

“Nobody should have to wait longer than 28 days to access the support they deserve.

“However, we are also hearing that the impact of coronavirus on NHS talking therapies has been a reduction in the number of referrals. In some places this reduction has been significant.” Mr Heyes said the drop could be for several reasons, including discomfort around digital therapy or guilt about asking for help from the NHS during the outbreak.

A survey by charity Rethink Mental Illness found that 80% of people living with mental illness said coronavirus and measures to contain it have made their mental health worse, with 27% saying it is “much worse”.

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