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Victory for talking therapies campaign

The Government has announced £170 million funding over the next three years to expand provision of psychological therapies, including the recruitment of 3,600 new therapists.

The move marks a stunning victory for Pulse's 18-month Action on Depression campaign, which demanded the Government make a huge investment in psychological therapies in order to bring down waiting times from years in many areas to two months.

Announcing the investment, health secretary Alan Johnson said: 'Improving access to psychological therapies will give people with mental health problems a real choice of treatment, helping to reduce dependence on medication.'

The roll out of more CBT and other therapy services comes after the success of two pilot projects in London and Doncaster aimed at getting people on incapacity benefit back to work.

The By 2010/11, the NHS will spend £170m per year on psychological therapies. This includes £30m extra in 2008/09 and more than £100m in 2009/10. The Department of Health said the investment would mean:

- 900,000 more people treated for depression and anxiety

- 450,000 of them are likely to be completely cured (as expected with NICE guidelines)

- 25,000 fewer people with mental health problems on sick pay and benefits

- 3,600 more newly trained psychological therapists giving evidence-based treatment

- all GP practices having access to psychological therapies as the programme rolls out

- average waiting for psychological treatments down from the current 18 months to a few weeks (in line with urgent outpatient waiting times in the rest of the NHS) as the service rolls out

Lord Richard Layard, co-author of the London School of Economics Depression Report, said: 'I'm delighted the Government has committed to implement the NICE guidelines on treating depression and, importantly.'

Professor Mayur Lakhani, chair of the RCGP, urged the Government to work closely with GPs to implement the plan.

Depression

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