Press Release:

For Immediate Release

If you want free counselling for relationship and mental health issues, you may have to move to Newham 

Couples’ chances of receiving tried and tested help together on the NHS through relationship and mental health difficulties depend massively on the area of London where they live.

Figures recently released by the Government show a sharp disparity in the provision and availability of Couple Therapy for Depression across London clinical commissioning groups. The treatment is recommended by NICE to treat depression in couples where there is also relationship distress.

This confusing inconsistency means that patients in Newham (which helped by far the greatest number of couples last year in London where one partner had depression), along with those in Richmond and Lewisham, have a much greater chance of getting the support they need. The geographical picture is less positive elsewhere. In many other areas such as Croydon, Harrow, Barnet, Bexley, Bromley and Camden, fewer than 5 (in all likelihood zero) cases completed in the year.

This patchwork provision is also repeated all over the country. It is particularly troubling given that mental health is high on the government’s agenda and the concept of support for relationships is being developed as a key part of the Prime Minister’s forthcoming Life Chances strategy It would seem out of step with the growing focus on mental health that couples face such mixed fortunes in accessing services that are aimed at strengthening relationships, psychological well-being and family life by providing professional support.

Leading provider of couple and individual therapy, the Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships is keen to work alongside NHS England and others to turn around this lack of provision. CEO Susanna Abse said:

“We know that the relationship problems and mental health are inextricably linked. 70% of the couples we see for our everyday services are clinically depressed. The NHS must try harder to ensure that a trained workforce is available to help couples who are facing difficulties with depression and anxiety and are providing patients with the right information that increases general knowledge that this is a treatment option for depression that NICE actually recommends”.

For further information contact:

TCCR: John Fenna, Head of Marketing & Communications T: 0207 380 1974 E:  W:  

Notes to Editor

  1. About TCCR

The quality of our closest relationships profoundly affects how we feel about ourselves and has material and measurable consequences for our lives and those around us – affecting the emotional, cognitive and physical development of our children, our capacity to work and to be fulfilled in work, and our physical and mental health.

Established in 1948 The Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships (TCCR) is an internationally renowned charity delivering and developing advanced practice, training and research in therapeutic and psycho-educational approaches to supporting couples.

The Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships, 70 Warren Street, London W1T 5PB
Registered Charity Number: 211058. Company number: 241618 registered in England and Wales. The Tavistock Institute of Medical Psychology

  1. Couple Therapy for Depression

What is Couple Therapy for Depression?

An integrative, behaviourally-based couple therapy designed to treat depression in couples where there is also relationship distress. Based on NICE guidelines, it has been developed by identifying best practice in a range of couple therapies evidenced in RCT effectiveness trials. It is one of the high intensity therapies offered in IAPT Services

What outcomes can be expected?

Couple Therapy for Depression:

  • reduces damaging interactions between couples
  • builds emotional openness and closeness
  • improves communication and behaviour
  • changes unhelpful cognitions and perceptions
  • helps the couple to cope with the ordinary and not-so ordinary stresses that arise in
  • the course of everyday relating.

You can read TCCR’s report on provision and effectiveness report  here