Improving the lives of those with depression

The UK is leading the fight against depression with new approaches to treatment thanks to the University of Exeter. Their research into the accessibility of low-cost, evidence-based treatments for depression has changed how we treat the condition.

therapy session

It provided the rationale for a £700 million expansion by the NHS of its Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme.

This England-wide programme offers patients psychological therapies as a first-line treatment for depression. In the first three years over a million people entered treatment, with 65% significantly improving and recovery rates of over 45%.

The vast majority of patients received treatments established and delivered through the research programme at Exeter. The research has also informed training provision, with the Exeter research team publishing the national curriculum and educational guidebooks for psychological wellbeing practitioners trained as part of the IAPT.

In addition to the health benefits and improvements to mental health service provision, the Exeter research is making a significant economic contribution. The new approaches to treatment have moved over 45,000 people off sick pay and benefits in the first three years of the IAPT programme, helping to improve productivity and reducing health care costs.

Policy area

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