NHS Talking Therapies for Anxiety and Depression, the new name for IAPT

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NHS Talking Therapies

The new name for IAPT

A rebranding of NHS therapy services took place in January which will affect those seeking psychological treatment for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

NHS Talking Therapies for Anxiety and Depression is the new name for Improving Access to Psychological Therapy (IAPT) services.

In 2008 IAPT services were launched across England that promised, as the name suggested, to improve access to psychological therapies like CBT for those with the most common mental health problems, such as depression and OCD.

Over the years, however, the NHS has been aware that naming the services ‘Improving Access to Psychological Therapies’ was not the most appealing name for the general public to understand. Whilst the name described the policy ambition, it didn’t explain what the services offer. Local IAPT services were also allowed to rebrand to local names such as ‘Healthy Minds’ or ‘Inclusion Matters’ which further added to the confusion and made searching for a local NHS therapy service that little bit harder.

The new NHS Talking Therapies for Anxiety and Depression name was chosen after a public consultation with close to 4,000 responses and a series of focus groups led by an independent research group.

Whilst OCD-UK welcome the rebranding, we want to reiterate that the rebranding must be matched with a renewing of quality improvements of the services being provided. We know many of our users have not had appropriate treatment experiences through IAPT, and that needs to change or the rebranding simply becomes a costly name change which won’t influence what the service policy ambition originally aimed for, which is as Professor David M Clark and Dr Adrian Whittington wrote in their recent blog post, ‘to provide effective psychological therapies to far more people experiencing the most common mental health problems.’

Whilst the name change is an improvement, it’s worth adding that Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for OCD is not meant to be just a talking therapy, it should also be considered a ‘doing’ therapy with the behavioural aspect of treatment.

How to access your local service
If you live in England and are aged 18 or over (some local services accept people from age 16), you can access NHS talking therapies services for anxiety and depression. A GP can refer you, or you can self-refer directly, without having to go to your GP.  Click here to find your local NHS Talking Therapies service – https://www.nhs.uk/service-search/mental-health/find-an-NHS-talking-therapies-service/