The King's Fund responds to announcement of extra money for talking treatments

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Responding to Secretary of State for Health Alan Johnson's statement today announcing extra money for 'talking treatments' for depression and anxiety, King's Fund's Senior Fellow in Mental Health, Simon Lawton-Smith said:

'The recognition of the need for greater access to psychological therapies is very welcome. Recruiting more therapists will mean that GPs will be able to refer patients for talking therapies more frequently.

'However, it's unclear how much of the £170 million announced today is additional to current funding for psychological therapies, which may raise questions as to whether it will be possible to deliver the expansion of services that the government is describing.

Talking therapies can be extremely effective in treating people with mental health problems, particularly when used alongside appropriate medication, enabling patients to live fuller lives, including returning to work.

'There are also hard economic benefits to society from improved mental health services that help people back to work because of reduced bills for incapacity benefit'

Notes to editors

  1. For further information or interviews, please contact the King’s Fund media and public relations office on 020 7307 2585, 020 7307 2632 or 020 7307 2581. An ISDN line is available for interviews on 020 7637 0185.
  2. The King’s Fund is an independent charitable foundation working for better health, especially in London. We carry out research, policy analysis and development activities, working on our own, in partnerships, and through funding. We are a major resource to people working in health and social care, offering leadership development programmes; seminars and workshops; publications; information and library services; and conference and meeting facilities.
  3. In 2005/6 planned expenditure on psychological therapies in England was £142 million: see The 2005/06 National Survey of Investment in Mental Health Services
  4. In early 2008 the King's Fund will publish a report on the expected future costs for mental health services in England up to 2026.