The AccEPT clinic provides access to the latest psychological treatments for depression.

New centre to benefit local people suffering from depression

People living in and around Exeter are benefitting from the launch of a specialist service for treating depression.

Run by the University of Exeter, the new centre is commissioned by the Devon NHS Primary Care Trust to provide access to the latest psychological treatments for depression.

The AccEPT (Accessing evidence-based psychological therapies) clinic will officially launch on 1 April 2009. Since it began operating in June 2008, over 200 people have already benefited from the service.

Based in the School of Psychology on the University of Exeter’s Streatham Campus, AccEPT offers psychological treatments for people with severe and recurrent depression. The clinic specialises in psychological therapies that are supported by evidence and recommended by the National Institutes of Clinical Excellence. These include cognitive behavioural therapy for those who are currently depressed and mindfulness based cognitive therapy to help people with a history of depression stay free from depression. Many of these treatments are conducted in group sessions, allowing more people access to treatment and bringing the added benefit of service-users being able to share their experiences with others.

The Clinic is part of the Mood Disorders Centre that is involved in ensuring evidence-based treatments for depression are as accessible as possible to as many people as possible.

Dr Eugene Mullan of the University of Exeter is one of the clinic’s directors. He said: “An estimated 3.5 million people in the UK suffer from depression. Many are seeking ways to manage their illness in the long-term and want psychological approaches that can make a real difference to their lives. The Clinic is research-led, which means our staff are committed to developing treatments that are based on evidence. Our goal is to try and improve short- and long-term treatment outcomes for people who suffer from severe and recurring depression. Our particular aim is to make high quality psychological treatments for depression available to as many local people as possible.”
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) both aim to tackle the root causes of depression. They focus on developing self-awareness to enable an individual to take more control of negative thoughts and feelings.

Professor Dave Richards, who has been one of the pioneers of the national Improving Access to Psychological therapies initiative, recently started working at the University of Exeter. He said, “Across England there is roll out of training and services for people with anxiety and depression. This service is well positioned to offer the types of therapies we know work and in ways that maximise their accessibility.”

Anyone who is interested in receiving treatments from the AccEPT clinic should speak to their GP.

Date: 31 March 2009

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