Professor Jesus Perez (right) and Professor Peter Jones (bottom right) have received a grant to improve access to psychological therapies (IAPT services) to recognise and respond to people with depression, anxiety and psychotic experiences.
A quarter of people who are getting help from Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) or psychological wellbeing services for common mental health disorders may have some psychotic experiences, such as paranoia or hearing voices. However, their experiences are not measured routinely and they do not recover very well. These people do not feel supported properly by their local NHS.
The new study, funded by the NIHR Programme Grants for Applied Research (PGfAR) Programme, could help pave the way for new models of care to be designed to plug this gap. These include tailored ‘talking therapies’ and a training package for therapists working in psychological wellbeing services.
CPFT consultants Professor Perez and Professor Jones led the successful application for the Tailoring evidence-based psychological therapY for People with common mental disorder including Psychotic EXperiences study (TYPPEX). It builds upon findings and work of CPFT’s award-winning CAMEO Early Intervention in Psychosis Services.
Professor Perez, Lead Consultant Psychiatrist at CAMEO, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded this significant grant to continue our work in finding the best treatments for people who suffer from psychotic experiences. It is recognition of the progress we have made in providing research-based specialised assessment, care and support to people experiencing psychosis.”
Psychosis affects an estimated 1.5m to 2m of the population in the UK but a previous study by Professor Perez has found that many more people attending psychological wellbeing services could have psychotic experiences, but which have not been previously picked up.
Professor Jones added: “A number of people with common mental health problems, such as depression or anxiety, do not recover after receiving talking therapy from psychological wellbeing services. Some of them suffer more severe forms of common mental health problems including psychotic experiences. At the moment they don’t get the help they need and are sometimes referred to specialised psychosis services that focus on the risk of people developing more severe mental health conditions such as schizophrenia.”
“We want services to help people with the problems they have, not the illnesses they may, but probably won’t develop. We aim to develop precision psychotherapy for people with a particular combination of problems that just hasn’t been properly recognised in the past.”
Professor Jones continued: “The work is also controversial because it challenges the way professionals are taught to think. Service-users are well aware of the problem.”
Thousands of service-users treated by several psychological wellbeing services across England will benefit from this study over the next five years.
Professor Perez continued: “The TYPPEX study will develop a form of talking therapy that will meet the needs of people with a common mental health condition and psychotic experiences with the aim of increasing recovery rates. This talking therapy will be offered to service-users in familiar environments making it more accessible and less stigmatising than specialist mental health services. TYPPEX will also provide a blueprint for testing other therapies beyond current cognitive behavioural therapy and lead to more efficient NHS psychological wellbeing services.”
About Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT) is a health and social care organisation, providing integrated community, mental health and learning disability services, across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, and children’s community services in Peterborough. We support around 100,000 people each year and employ more than 3,400 staff. Our largest bases are at the Cavell Centre, Peterborough, and Fulbourn Hospital, Cambridge, but our staff are based in over 90 locations. We are a University of Cambridge Teaching Trust and member of Cambridge University Health Partners, working together with the University of Cambridge Clinical School.
The TYPPEX study is being funded by the NIHR Programme Grants for Applied Research (PGfAR) Programme and supported by the NIHR Clinical Research Network. The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR): improving the health and wealth of the nation through research.
Established by the Department of Health, the NIHR:
- funds high quality research to improve health
- trains and supports health researchers
- provides world-class research facilities
- works with the life sciences industry and charities to benefit all
- involves patients and the public at every step
For further information, visit the NIHR website www.nihr.ac.uk