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Mental health services in the England are being ‘Uberised’ – and that’s bad for patients and therapists

There is a mental health crisis in England, with rates of depression doubling since the COVID pandemic began. Strategies of “speaking up”, mindfulness sessions at work, and national “happiness” campaigns have been touted as an effective approach to tackling mental health at work, but therapists are unconvinced.

But what of mental health services offered by the state? This has been equally unconvincing. Over the past decade or so, mental health services in England have been undergoing a process of “Uberisation”. This refers to how services are effectively treated as commodities marketed through online platforms, changing the way they are delivered as well as making the jobs of the people delivering them more precarious – similar to the effect of ride-hailing apps on taxi drivers.

Specifically, this has happened through the introduction of a standardised and digitalised model of therapy called Increased Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT). This Uberisation appears to be contributing to a mental health crisis within the therapy profession itself.

IAPT, which was introduced in 2008, provides psychotherapy for depression and anxiety to over a million people each year – the largest NHS programme in England. It uses a model of cognitive behavioural therapy – made up of short-term interventions of four to 12 sessions – that use techniques, such as relaxation exercises, to encourage positive mood and behaviour.

With extremely high levels of depression and anxiety among therapists, there is a genuine question about patient safety that is being overlooked. If the mental health model itself is broken, are services deepening the mental health crisis, rather than solving it?

Read the full article here
Source: The Conversation


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