IAPT for people with severe mental illness: A service user evaluation



We have produced two reports from our service user evaluation of IAPT for SMI funded by NHS England. The summary is a 12 page A5 booklet and the full report is much longer. Both have been produced with the three peer researchers who worked on this study with staff from the McPin Foundation. We are very grateful to everyone who participated and are working with the study sites to disseminate the findings locally. Click to download below.

Summary report from service user evaluation of IAPT for SMI

Full report from service user evaluation of IAPT for SMI


What is this research?

Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) is a national programme, started in 2008, which aims to allow more people with mental health difficulties to access talking therapies. In 2011, the government made a commitment to expand this programme to people with psychosis, bipolar disorder and personality disorders.

NHS England selected six demonstration sites to pilot IAPT for people with severe mental illness. They are collecting evidence to show whether this work is effective.

The McPin Foundation has been asked to carry out some research to find out about the experience of people accessing talking therapies in these sites.

Flexible Support


Why is this research important?

While it is important to know about the clinical results for people receiving talking therapies through this programme, it is also essential to understand the perspective of people who receive them. We asked people what they felt helped or didn’t help them and what they liked and didn’t like about the experience.

Importantly, we also spoke to people who decided not to receive talking therapies through this programme to find out why they didn’t feel it was suitable for them, or what prevented them from accessing it. This helps to understand not only who the programme helps, but also who it doesn’t help and how it could be improved to help more people in the future.


What are we doing?

The research is being carried out by three peer researchers in different parts of the country. They are being supported by two researchers at the McPin Foundation.

We asked people to complete a questionnaire about their experiences of the programme. We then invited 60 people with a range of experiences to take part in an interview with the researchers. The interviews allowed us to ask more detail about their views and feelings about the talking therapy, or about why they chose not to use it.


What is the current status of the project?

The project began in November 2014 and will end in October 2015. We sent out questionnaires in December, and the interviews took place from January – March 2015. We reported our findings to NHS England at the end of March, we are currently working on an in depth analysis of the interview data which will result in a peer review publication allowing us to address some of the key research findings in more detail.


Who do I contact for more information?

For more information about the project, or to speak to a researcher, please email