Co-directors Rick Cooper and Professor David Kessler, and co-ordinator Cheng Lui, share an update from the Psychological Therapies in Primary Care (InPsyTe) HIT in 2020-21.
Recommissioning and redesign of the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services in our area has meant that the HIT has officially been on ‘pause’. However, we have continued to meet regularly as a core group representing the HIT.
We have continued to focus on under-represented communities, which has become more urgent over the last year due to the pandemic. We already know that people from ethnic minority backgrounds do not access IAPT services as successfully as other population groups, and when they do, the recovery rate is generally poorer than other groups. We have now analysed data from outreach sessions we ran with Bristol Wellbeing Therapies (AWP) IAPT service at Easton’s Junction 3 Library, and presented outcomes to the NIHR ARC West Mental Health theme Research Oversight Group in September.
Although the number of people attending the sessions was relatively small, arguably the effort in reaching out to an under-served section of the community has an important symbolic and educational value. We have planned further outreach activities based around this work and have applied for funding to deliver these activities, while also thinking flexibly about how to adapt this model so that it works remotely. For example, we have developed a questionnaire to help us learn more about the potential problems people from ethnic minority backgrounds face in accessing IAPT services, which has now been approved by stakeholders.
Having been significantly delayed by the pandemic, we are pleased to report that recruitment to the INTERACT trial has now begun. This is a six-year programme of research, funded by the NIHR and led by the University of Bristol, that aims to develop and evaluate the integration of online Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) materials with therapist-led CBT for depression. It blends high intensity therapy with innovative use of technology to maintain the effectiveness of face-to-face CBT, and is an excellent example of how research is translated from the lab (in this case the human/computer interface lab) to the clinical setting.