Psychotherapy Service Cuts Health Care Use, Sick Leave

Improving Access to Psychological Therapies beneficial for common mental health problems

THURSDAY, Oct. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Individuals with common mental health problems (CMHP) use more health care resources, and referral to the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) program reduces their number of emergency department visits and sick days, according to a study published online Oct. 3 in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.

Simon de Lusignan, M.B.B.S., M.D., from the University of Surrey in Guildford, U.K., and colleagues investigated the impact of the IAPT service on health care utilization and sickness absence among individuals with CMHP. Primary care, hospital, and clinic computer data were explored for antidepressant prescriptions, outpatient and emergency department attendance, inpatient stays, bed days, and sick certifications. A comparison was made between those with CMHP and the registered population. Further comparison was made at six months before and after referral to IAPT, using age, gender, and practice-matched controls.

The investigators found that, compared to individuals without CMHP, those with CMHP used significantly more health resources, including more antidepressant prescriptions, inpatient episodes, occupied bed days, outpatient and emergency department visits, and medical certificates. Referral to IAPT was associated with reduced use of the emergency department (mean difference, −0.12) and an increase in the number of prescriptions for antidepressants (mean difference, −0.15).

"People with CMHP use more health care resources. Referral to the IAPT program is associated with a subsequent reduction in emergency department attendances, sickness certification, and improved adherence to drug treatment," the authors write.

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