NICE publishes new depression guideline


NICE published its new clinical guideline for depression in adults at the end of June, following a
guideline development process, which involved three consultations over a period of seven years. This delay follows the persistence of a coalition of stakeholders, that saw UKAGP join forces with more than forty other mental health organisations from across the UK. These represented service users; professionals from psychiatry, psychology, social work, counselling and psychotherapy; research methodologists; GPs; pharmacists; nurses; mental health charities and survivor-led organisations.

Together we called on NICE to address what we perceived to be major methodological
flaws. We argued strongly for improvements which would result in a wider range of treatment
recommendations in order to enhance care quality and patient choice. Our campaign received
support from over 100 MPs and Peers from across all the major parties.

The number of people needing mental health support is sadly growing quickly, and it is vital that clinical guidelines best reflect the needs and experiences of those they are designed to help.’ ‘ Sir Norman Lamb, former Health Minister, led parliamentary support for the coalition.

While there are still serious flaws with the new guideline, and not all the issues we raised have been addressed, we recognise the substantial additional work that has been undertaken, and the significant steps NICE has taken:

We now have a much improved guideline with a far greater emphasis on personalised care, service user choice and shared decision-making.”Dr Felicitas Rostas, former President of the Society for Psychotherapy Research UK, and leader of the stakeholder coalition group.

If implemented alongside a workforce and service development strategy, we believe the changes should result in significant improvements in care for people with depression. This could have a major impact on the availability of psychotherapeutic treatments, particularly the provision of alternatives to antidepressant medication and cognitive behavioural therapy, across mental health.

Alongside a renewed focus on patient choice must come investment in the mental health
workforce. The government needs to ensure that there are practitioners available to meet
both the increased choice of treatments and rising demand for support.’
Adam Jones, Policy
and Public Affairs Manager for the UK Council for Psychotherapy

Our coalition will continue to work together to encourage NICE to adapt its guideline development process – to ensure the growing number of people seeking mental health care are supported to find the right treatment for them.

We hope that NICE has found the input and expertise from stakeholders such as the Coalition
valuable – if challenging at times – and will seek to build on that dialogue in the development
of future guidelines. Now comes the important step of ensuring that changes to this
guideline are translated into tangible improvements for the public accessing service
’.
Matthew Smith-Lilley, Policy and Engagement Lead for Mental Health for the British
Asssociation for Counselling and Psychotherapy,

This update comes from our outgoing chair, Belinda Harris