Improving Access to psychological therapies for people with severe mental illness (IAPT-SMI): Lessons from the South London and Maudsley psychosis demonstration site

Louise Johns, Suzanne Jolley, Philippa Garety, Mizanur Khondoker, Miriam Fornells-Ambrojo, Juliana Onwumere, Emmanuelle Peters, Craig Milosh, Alison Brabban, Majella Byrne

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Implementation of evidence-based cognitive behavioural therapy for psychosis (CBTp) remains low in routine services. The United Kingdom Improving Access to Psychological Therapies for people with Severe Mental Illness (IAPT-SMI) initiative aimed to address this issue. The project evaluated whether existing services could improve access to CBTp and demonstrate effectiveness using a systematic approach to therapy provision and outcome monitoring (in a similar way to the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) model for people with anxiety and depression).
We report the clinical outcomes and key learning points from the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust IAPT-SMI demonstration site for psychosis.
Additional funding enabled increased therapist capacity within existing secondary care community mental health services. Self-reported wellbeing and psychotic symptom outcomes were assessed, alongside service use and social/occupational functioning.
Accepted referrals/year increased by 89% (2011/12: n = 106/year; 2012–2015: n = 200/year); 90% engaged (attended ≥5 sessions) irrespective of ethnicity, age and gender. The assessment protocol proved feasible, and pre-post outcomes (n = 280) showed clinical improvements and reduced service use, with medium effects.
We conclude that, with appropriate service structure, investment allocated specifically for competent therapy provision leads to increased and effective delivery of CBTp. Our framework is replicable in other settings and can inform the wider implementation of psychological therapies for psychosis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-110
JournalBehaviour Research and Therapy
Early online date8 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - May 2019

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