We’ve been closely watching the UK, which has recently begun trying to make evidence-based mental health treatment more readily available to its citizens. The UK is far ahead of the U.S. in trying to implement an evidence-based agenda for mental health care, and ahead of many other countries as well. Back in 2004, the UK’s Lord Layard recommended increased use of Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) to respond to the UK’s mental health needs. Providing evidence-based care is an effective and economical way to ensure that citizens receive a form of treatment that is clinically demonstrated to actually help. Layard points out that improving citizens’ access to evidence-based mental health treatment will help alleviate their mental health problems, and will also help many who are receiving “incapacity benefits” (disability benefits) due to mental health problems get back to work. Everyone wins in this situation — those with mental health problems get better care, and the UK’s costs in paying out incapacity benefits will go down as more citizens return to work.
Now, in 2006, the UK is beginning to move towards its goals by initiating a pilot program to improve citizens’ access to evidence-based treatment, including CBT.