Prompt mental health care, the Norwegian version of IAPT: clinical outcomes and predictors of change in a multicenter cohort study
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Background Prompt mental health care (PMHC) is a Norwegian initiative, inspired by the English ‘Improving Access to Psychological Therapy’ (IAPT), aimed to provide low-threshold access to primary care treatment for persons with symptoms of anxiety and depression. The objectives of the present study are to describe the PMHC service, to examine changes in symptoms of anxiety and depression following treatment and to identify predictors of change, using data from the 12 first pilot sites. Methods A prospective cohort design was used. All participants were asked to complete questionnaires at baseline, before each treatment session and at the end of treatment. Effect sizes (ES) for pre-post changes and recovery rates were calculated based on the Patient Health Questionnaire and the Generalized Anxiety Disorder scale. Multiple imputation (MI) was used in order to handle missing data. We examined predictors through latent difference score models and reported the contribution of each predictor level in terms of ES. Results In total, N = 2512 clients received treatment at PMHC between October 2014 and December 2016, whereof 61% consented to participate. The changes from pre- to post-treatment were large for symptoms of both depression (ES = 1.1) and anxiety (ES = 1.0), with an MI-based reliable recovery rate of 58%. The reliable recovery rate comparable to IAPT based on last-observation-carried-forward was 48%. The strongest predictors for less improvement were having immigrant background (ES change depression − 0.27, ES change anxiety − 0.26), being out of work at baseline (ES change depression − 0.18, ES change anxiety − 0.35), taking antidepressants (ES change anxiety − 0.36) and reporting bullying as cause of problems (ES change depression − 0.29). Taking sleep medication did on the other hand predict more improvement (ES change depression 0.23, ES change anxiety 0.45). Conclusions Results in terms of clinical outcomes were promising, compared to both the IAPT pilots and other benchmark samples. Though all groups of clients showed substantial improvements, having immigrant background, being out of work, taking antidepressant medication and reporting bullying as cause stood out as predictors of poorer treatment response. Altogether, PMHC was successfully implemented in Norway. Areas for improvement of the service are discussed.