THE mental heath trust covering Western Cheshire is to employ seven specialist therapists to support a national NHS programme which helps adults suffering from depression and anxiety disorders.

The Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme, funded by the Department of Health via Western Cheshire Primary Care Trust, aims to improve access to care, cutting down waiting times and helping patients achieve recovery.

The programme has been adopted by Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CWP).

John Short, chief operating officer at CWP, said: “We have chosen the PCT to create a new workforce to offer properly supervised high intensity therapy.

“This service focuses on mental well-being and aids service user recovery, working in partnership with experienced CWP clinicians and PCT staff.”

The PCT’s chief executive, Helen Bellairs, said: “One in four people will experience some kind of mental health problem in their life.

“Taking that first step – to speak to a GP or someone else who can help – can be the hardest step.

“This development will transform the way the local health service helps people with depression and anxiety disorders and help to reduce the stigma.”

The programme will be carried out in line with evidence from trials independently reviewed by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence.