History of italk and Partnership Working
italk is the brand name for the IAPT service delivered by Solent Mind and Southern NHS Foundation Trust.
italk was launched in September 2010 as part of the 'Improving Access to Psychological Therapies' (IAPT) scheme to provide Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) based interventions for people experiencing common mental health problems. Since the launch the service has continued to grow with an expanding team of staff and new interventions.
History or Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT)
IAPT is a national initiative (England only) which delivers steps 2 and 3 of the National Guidelines (published in 2004) for patients experiencing depression and anxiety disorders. The National Guidelines have been set out by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) which is an independent body established to identify the most effective ways to treat ill health and promote well being.
In the guidelines, certain psychological treatments are recommended, based on many years of clinical research, which have demonstrated that "talking therapies" can be as helpful as medication to treat anxiety and depression. The recommended treatments are referred to as "evidence-based treatments" because of the research that has proved their effectiveness.
The guidelines also recommend that delivery of the evidence based treatments follow a "stepped care model" which ensures that the treatment offered to people is appropriate to their needs, and which is the least burdensome for them.
The stepped care model can be seen in the pyramid diagram below - the dark blue park of the pyramid represents the steps delivered by italk.
The treatments delivered at steps 1 to 3 are listed below:
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
- Guided Self Help
- Computerised CBT
- Employment Support
- Group Workshops
- Lifestyle Support
- Medication Advice
- CBT-i for Insomnia
- Couples Therapy for Depression
The NICE guidelines were followed in 2005 by a paper written by Lord Richard Layard. The paper showed that using psychological therapies to treat depression and anxiety could have economic benefits nationwide. The overall number of sick days taken by people experiencing depression or anxiety could be reduced if people were able to access talking therapies. In 2006, this idea achieved £3.7million funding to set up two pilot sites in Doncaster and Newham which were successful.
The IAPT programme is now available across England and has recently been extended to 2015 as part of the 'Talking Therapies: a four year plan of action' publication by the government. IAPT has also been expanded to children and young people, and people with long term physical conditions, medically unexplained symptoms or severe mental illness.