The Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme began in 2008 with the aim of transforming the treatment of adult anxiety disorders and depression in England. In the past year alone, more than one million people accessed IAPT services for help to overcome their depression and anxiety, and better manage their mental health
The COVID-19 pandemic limited GP availability and less patients presented with mental health issues. This resulted in low GP referrals meaning mental health providers struggled to meet access targets. At the same time, there has been an increase in patient demand, with 40% of people requesting access to psychological therapies. This is compounded by lack of patient choice in the type of therapies received, plus different groups are found to be underrepresented for these services.
myGP increase self-referrals in London and Bedfordshire
Working across nine Talking Therapy Service hubs across London and Bedfordshire, myGP deployed targeted SMS messages to drive self-referrals for IAPT services. Patients were targeted by age and gender, with each SMS message including three options for them to self-refer; a link to complete a form, a phone line to ring and instructions on how to book through their GP practice. Messages can be sent on as-needed basis, so demand can be aligned with capacity.