Preliminary Findings of a New Primary and Community Care Psychological Service in Northern Ireland: Low-Intensity Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Common Mental Health Difficulties

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Background: The prevalence of mental health difficulties in Northern Ireland (NI) is significantly higher than in England. In recent years, there have been extensive consultations, and subsequent recommendations made in NI in an effort to address this. Aims: The current study aims to evaluate the effectiveness of an ‘Improving Access to Psychological Therapies’ (IAPT)steppedcareservicemodelusinglow-intensitycognitivebehaviouraltherapy(LI-CBT) inprimaryandcommunitycaresettings.Method:Apilotinterventiontrialdesignutilizedtwo standardized outcome measures (PHQ-9 and GAD-7) before treatment (at baseline), during treatment (in every session) and at discharge (at final session). Results: Preliminary reliable change outcomes for the pilot cohorts showed a recovery rate of 47.9%, improvement rate of 76.7% and deterioration rate of 6%. Conclusions: These findings suggest that the IAPT service model is clinically effective in the NI population. Data collection for the larger study was completed in December 2017. Future analyses will include follow-up data collected at 4 months post-treatment, and will also aim to identify individual and service level factors that potentially impact treatment effectiveness.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)761-767
Number of pages7
JournalBehavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy
Issue number6
Early online date13 Jun 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Jun 2018



  • effectiveness
  • Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT)
  • low intensity
  • psychological wellbeing practitioners
  • stepped care

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