21.5% more people accessing talking therapies through the NHS

Close up photograph of man and woman sat next to each other at talking therapy session
© Tero Vesalainen

The number of people accessing talking therapies for conditions such as anxiety and depression via the NHS increased by 21.5% from 2020-21 to 2021-22, a new report shows

The Psychological Therapies: Annual Report on the use of IAPT services, England 2021-22 publication provides information on the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme.

Run by the NHS, the programme offers NICE-approved therapies for treating people with depression and anxiety.

In 2021-22, 1.24 million referrals accessed IAPT services. In 2020-21, 1.02 million people accessed the same services. This works out as an increase of 21.5% or one-fifth.

By means of comparison, in 2019-20, there were 1.17 million referrals through IAPT services.

The publication also highlights:

  • The overall number of referrals was up 24.5% from 1.46 million in 2020-21 to 1.81 million in 2021-22, higher than pre-pandemic levels of 1.69 million in 2019-2020.
  • The number of referrals completing a course of treatment increased by 4.6%, from 634,649 in 2020-21 to 664,087 this year.
  • People who were completing a course of treatment received an average of 7.9 sessions in 2021-22, which was up from 7.5 in 2020-21.
  • The figures also show that 50.2% of referrals moved to recovery in 2021-22, down 1.2 percentage points from 51.4% in 2020-21.

The report and interactive dashboard also include:

  • Waiting times for entering and finishing treatment
  • Demographic and geographic breakdowns
  • Trend data for key activity and outcomes

Why do people seek talking therapies?

People seek treatment through IAPT services for a variety of reasons.

Talking therapies available on the NHS can be used to treat depression and a range of anxiety disorders such as agoraphobia, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorders, panic disorders and social phobias.

IAPT treatments include talking therapies such as counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and peer support.




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