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NHS talking therapies for anxiety and depression

Increasing Physical Activity in Psychological (IPAcT)

The IPAcT pilot project explored how to integrate physical activity interventions into existing psychological NHS treatment for depression, to help service users become more physically active to support their mental health and consider how feasible this is for services to do in practice.  

This project started and ran from October 2020 to October 2023. For this reason, the interventions trialled in the early stages of the project were designed to be delivered remotely via online video platforms (e.g. Microsoft Teams and Zoom).

The impact of the interventions on mental health outcomes and levels of physical activity were measured throughout to understand changes in physical activity levels and clinical outcomes.

Five interventions were trialled:

1. Physical activity and long-term conditions workshop
A step-2, three-session online workshop offered to anyone accessing the service (step 2 and 3) with a long-term health condition. Offered alongside other interventions.
2. Group-based CBT and physical activity for depression online group
A step-3, 10-session online therapy group for depression offered as a stand-alone intervention.
3. Walk and talk therapy
A step-3, one-to-one CBT intervention with some sessions delivered while out walking. A stand-alone intervention offered in person.
4. Animal Antiks
In conjunction with a local charity, service users were given the opportunity to join nature walks with alpacas. Offered alongside other interventions (Step 2 and 3).
5. Move More; Feel Better
A module on the Foundations App, a wellbeing app with self-help resources focussed on helping people become more active. Offered as an adjunct to anyone starting a treatment intervention (step 2 and 3) with the two participating NHS TTad services.

"I have had MS for 10 years so I have been up and down. I feel as good as I have ever felt now, which is really nice to get back to. It is how I want to live the rest of my life, it is how I want to manage my condition.

"The long-term condition workshop helped me with that, because it just brought back into focus everything that I had been told in the past, that I had found useful."

Service user

An evaluation report and service toolkit will be released in summer 2024 showcasing impact, learning and support materials to help more services embed physical activity into talking therapies. 

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