YES I KNOW it sounds like madness 'Divorcing couples to be offered counselling on the NHS' , a total waste of tax payers money BUT stop read this article from the Observer it dose make sense .
Divorcing couples to be offered counselling on the NHS
Extended 'talking therapies' programme aims to tackle anxiety, mental illness and depression
Denis Campbell and Tracy McVeigh
The Observer, Sunday 22 November 2009
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The government is to announce that divorcing couples will be offered counselling on the National Health Service for the first time in an effort to tackle growing rates of depression.
The move will be unveiled by health secretary Andy Burnham this week. From April, couples' counselling programmes will be launched across England in an extension of the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme of "talking therapies", which has targets to tackle "sick-note Britain".
Troubled relationships are thought to be among the key factors affecting rates of mental health and anxiety. Research consistently suggests that men in particular who are in successful relationships are more protected from depression and anxiety than those who are single, divorced or separated.
"Trouble at home can lead to depression and anxiety. Sometimes even children can be caught up in the fallout," said Burnham. "When couples hit a rocky patch, a bit of help and support can stop it spiralling out of control. Professional support can help people rebuild relationships or separate amicably."
The plan is part of the wider flagship IAPT strategy to train an army of therapists to help get the country off expensive antidepressants. There is a target for the £186m programme to get 25,000 people suffering from anxiety and depression off sick pay and benefits by 2010 and treat some 900,000 people in total.
But, as the Observer reported last month, there are concerns about whether these aims can be met after the IAPT expert reference group, which oversees the implementation of the programme, was told in September that so far only 400 out of the 3,600 therapists needed to run it are fully trained.
The programme's supporters believe it offers an important alternative to the tens of millions of antidepressants prescribed by doctors in the UK every year, at a cost of some £12bn. Around a million people are off work and claiming benefits because of mental-health problems.
"Six million people in the UK suffer from depression and anxiety. By 2011, 900,000 people with mental illness and depression will be able to access therapy. Whoever needs specialist couples' therapy as part of that will be able to get it," said a spokesman for the Department of Health. "A relatively small step can prevent more tragic consequences such as severe mental illness, depression, or long-term unemployment. The cost of this additional therapy is minimal, as it uses existing resources more flexibly.
"This extension of the range of therapies available will be achieved by providing additional training to existing therapists and ensuring that they work in a more joined-up way with the new therapists. As a result, the additional cost of this development will be marginal."
It comes after the head of counselling service Relate called for Labour to become more comfortable with talking about relationships. At a meeting last month, Claire Tyler said a wish not to stigmatise single parents had meant the centre left of politics "until fairly recently has been pretty uncomfortable talking about relationships". But she added: "We recognise that quite a lot has been done in the last 12 months to recognise this and rectify that."
Some 80% of couples who turn to Relate for relationship counselling say that it helped them.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2009