New statistics released on talking therapies in England

25 Nov 2021 02:03 PM

New annual figures have been released by NHS Digital on referrals to talking therapies for conditions such as anxiety and depression in England during 2020-21.

The Psychological Therapies: Annual Report on the use of IAPT services, England 2020-21 publication provides information on the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme1. This programme is run by the NHS in England and offers NICE-approved therapies for treating people with depression and anxiety. 

The 2020-21 report shows that:

In total, 1.46 million referrals to talking therapies were made in 2020-21 – down 14.0% from 1.69 million in 2019-20. 

Of those referred, 1.02 million accessed the services – down 12.2% from 1.17 million in 2019-20. 

Overall, 90.0% of referrals started treatment within six weeks, up 2.6 percentage points from 87.4% in 2019-20.  

The number of referrals completing a course of treatment increased by 4.6% from 606,192 in 2019-20 to 634,649 in 2020-21.   

The figures also show that 51.4% of referrals moved to recovery in 2020-21, up 0.3 percentage points from 51.1% in 2019-20.  

People completing a course of treatment received on average 7.5 sessions in 2020-21, up from 6.9 in 2019-20. 

Information that can be found in the report and interactive dashboard includes: 

People seek treatment through IAPT services for depression and a range of anxiety disorders such as agoraphobia, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorders, panic disorders and social phobias. Treatments can include therapies such as counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and peer support. 

Read the full report  

Psychological Therapies, Annual Report on the use of IAPT services 2020-21

Notes for Editors

  1. The Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) dataset became a nationally mandated data set in April 2012; earlier comparable data are not available.
  2. Outcome measures, such as recovery, in IAPT are calculated for referrals that finish a course of treatment within the reporting period having started as clinical cases of anxiety or depression. The term "recovery" has a specific meaning in the context of IAPT services. A referral has moved to recovery if they were defined as a clinical case at the start of their treatment and not as a clinical case at the end of treatment.
  3. For further information see the ‘Guide to IAPT data and publications’ at
    All historical IAPT publications can be found at