Talk-therapy boost adds 52 more centres

A further 52 “talking therapy” centres offering cognitive behavioural therapies, counselling and guided self-help for people suffering from depression and anxiety are to be funded by the government from next March.

The new sites, announced last month by the Department of Health, will join the 28 launched earlier this year and 35 set up in 2008 as part of a £103m initiative by the government to set up a national network of units to help people with mild mental health conditions.

One in four people is estimated to suffer from a mental health problem, with mental ill health costing the economy more than £77bn a year, according to the government.

Care services minister Phil Hope said: “The talking therapy services that are already up and running have been very successful, with 73,000 people entering treatment and 1,500 more therapists being employed under the scheme.”

In a separate initiative, a Department of Health-backed programme has been encouraging local communities to improve the health of their residents.

The Communities for Health programme was supporting more than 360 local activities, including tackling obesity, smoking, drugs and alcohol, it said.

Examples included a peer support programme in Barnsley to help vulnerable families access healthcare and lead healthier lives and, in Doncaster, a scheme to help workers access health screening.

Public health minister Gillian Merron said: “Mortality rates for cancer and cardiovascular disease have fallen fastest in the most disadvantaged areas.

“Life expectancy has improved for all social groups and infant mortality rates are at their lowest ever level,” she said.

“Projects like these are invaluable in giving everyone an equal chance of good health.”

The scheme has been supported by the Improvement and Development Agency. Click here for more details.

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