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Improving access to mental health treatment

Last updated:
Thu, May 5, 2022
With the recent launch of Livi’s new mental health service, George Jones, Livi Director of Mental Health, shares his thoughts on improving access to mental health treatment.

We are living in a time of unprecedented demand for mental health support in the UK.

Figures recently published by the Royal College of Psychiatrists revealed a record 4.3 million referrals to mental health services in 2021, with 1.8 million specialist mental health consultations taking place in just December of last year alone.

At the same time, we are seeing ongoing access challenges. Backlogs are growing with an estimated 1.4 million people accepted for / eligible for care who are yet to receive it.

At Livi, we believe everyone should be able to access the help they need, when they need it. That’s why we’ve launched our new online therapy service, which will offer cognitive behavioural therapy with qualified and accredited mental health practitioners.

Supporting the NHS

Our vision for this service is to increase access to high quality, clinically proven therapy and help ease pressure on the NHS. It’s widely known that COVID-19 affected people’s mental health and wellbeing. Successive lockdowns and periods of isolation increased stress, anxiety and worry. At the same time, the pandemic has exacerbated pre-existing mental health conditions.

We are seeing an impact being felt not just in mental health services, but across the health system in urgent care, community services and of course, primary care. In the latter, some primary care networks have seen a 50 per cent increase in mental health caseloads according to reports from NHS Confederation. While here at Livi, our GPs are seeing thousands of patients for associated mental health issues every month.

It’s clear there is a pressing need for additional capacity and expansion of mental health support, as reflected by the recent publication of the government’s COVID-19 Mental Health and Wellbeing Recovery Action Plan. Indeed, figures from the Centre for Mental Health and Partners estimate mental health provision for up to 10 million people over the next three to five years.

To help meet this challenge, our service will enable people to book therapy appointments online, and see a Livi therapist by video from the comfort of their own home or a location of their choice.

Supporting patients

This digital service will provide a convenient medium for patients to open up and talk about issues they may not always find it easy to talk about in person. It also offers a timely option to speak to someone when help is needed urgently.

Qualified Livi therapists will provide that help, offering expert advice and teaching practical techniques to support people to take care of their mental wellbeing.

We will offer support for a range of issues such as anxiety, depression, compulsive behaviour and stress. The last of these affects one in four people every day in the UK according to new Livi research conducted in partnership with YouGov to mark Mental Health Awareness week.

At a system level, the service will help to serve the levels of demand we are seeing at present through digital technology, a sentiment echoed by the NHS Confederation:

“Digital services have provided innovative solutions during the height of the pandemic. There is little doubt among our members about what will work when it comes to meeting demand.”

I, and everyone here at Livi share this belief. Digital healthcare will be key to improving access and reducing waiting times in mental health. It is our hope that our service will help provide much needed capacity to improve the mental health of populations in the UK, now and in the future.

Find out more about our mental health service here.

Last updated:

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