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Talking treatment funding

11th October 2007

The government plans to spend significantly more money on psychological treatments offered by the NHS to people suffering from depression in England.

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About six million adults are thought to suffer from depression or anxiety disorders - costing the economy around £12bn annually and resulting in an estimated 91 million sick days.

By 2010, the Health Secretary said £170m would be used annually in order to enable 900,000 more people to receive "talking treatments". He said the government will spend £30m in 2008/9, £100m in 2009/10 and £170m every year from 2010/11.

A forecast has predicted that the increased number of people receiving treatments will mean there will be 25,000 less people receiving sickness benefits. There are currently over one million people receiving incapacity benefits for mental health issues.

Waiting times of an average of 18 months are currently experienced by patients in order to receive talking treatments. The new funds aim to bring the waiting time down to two weeks and will enable the employment of 3,600 new therapists.

Mr Johnson said: "More than one in six people suffer from mental health problems at any one time. For many people prescribing medication is a successful treatment but we know that psychological therapies work equally well."

The government's plans were welcomed by both economic experts and mental health charities.

Marjorie Wallace, of the charity SANE, said that talking therapies could "transform people's lives" but should not be seen "as a quick fix panacea for everyone".



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