Background: The prevalence of mental health difficulties in Northern Ireland (NI) is significantly higher than in England. In recent years, there have been extensive consultations, and subsequent recommendations made in NI in an effort to address this. Aims: The current study aims to evaluate the effectiveness of an ‘Improving Access to Psychological Therapies’ (IAPT) stepped care service model using low-intensity cognitive behavioural therapy (LI-CBT) in primary and community care settings. Method: A pilot intervention trial design utilized two standardized outcome measures (PHQ-9 and GAD-7) before treatment (at baseline), during treatment (in every session) and at discharge (at final session). Results: Preliminary reliable change outcomes for the pilot cohorts showed a recovery rate of 47.9%, improvement rate of 76.7% and deterioration rate of 6%. Conclusions: These findings suggest that the IAPT service model is clinically effective in the NI population. Data collection for the larger study was completed in December 2017. Future analyses will include follow-up data collected at 4 months post-treatment, and will also aim to identify individual and service level factors that potentially impact treatment effectiveness.
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