Community and Voluntary Sector

In order to reach sections of the population that have lower IAPT access or outcome rates than expected, many IAPT services have undertaken significant outreach and engagement with local community and voluntary sector (CVS) organisations. There are many fantastic examples of this, and we recommend that all IAPT services develop relationships with their community partners. Some examples are outlined below.

Examples of IAPT service collaboration with CVS organisations


One Bromley is a meeting of staff across health, social care, community and voluntary sector services in Bromley, which is an effective in building relationships and sharing knowledge.

Bromley IAPT works closely with Bromley Well, which is a service that helps residents improve and maintain their health and wellbeing. Bromley Well is delivered by a partnership of local voluntary sector organisations (including Mind, Age UK). Residents are assessed and then referred to different sources of support or help, which may be employment advice or IAPT.

Kensington & Chelsea

Community Living Well is a service where IAPT is integrated with other local partners to support patients’ mental health and wellbeing needs. Services are co-located and there is a single-point of access for all services offered.

Feedback from local community groups has been that the IAPT service doesn’t necessarily provide what is wanted by parts of the population, for example for certain ethnic minority groups. The service has spoken with community leaders, there has been collaboration between clinicians and the community groups to develop offers that both meet the needs of local communities and are IAPT compliant (thereby contributing towards IAPT targets).


Step 2 IAPT services are provided by Mind in Harrow (sub-contracted). The team is integrated and work at the same base. Mind in Harrow is embedded within local community and voluntary sector forums, which has helped the service to outreach to local CVS partners. The service  attends local community groups and offers wellbeing sessions with psychological input and use this as an opportunity to make connections to the IAPT service.


Uplift [see case study] developed its service models in 2016, working more closely with communities and co-producing sessions with community partners, which in turn has seen more engagement. The wellbeing service has helped to break down barriers to accessing wellbeing and mental health support for the borough. Their work is promoted by Councils, GPs and Commissioners.


IAPT services work with a number of local community and voluntary sector providers, where the charities provide practical support and IAPT provides the therapy. For example, they work with Family matters for sexual abuse, Women’s Aid and Solace for domestic violence and Pier Road for drug and alcohol abuse.


Have a good collaborative relationship with MIND through a single point of access (SPA) structure in the borough. Westminster IAPT conduct the assessment, triage and provide step 2 therapy whilst Mind provides all the counselling sessions.


Adapt IAPT services for community partners and the voluntary sector; listen to their needs, acknowledge concerns and challenges and co-produce services with them. They build alliances and partnerships, and try and understand the cultures of other organisations. Adapting the IAPT offer whilst still maintaining fidelity to the IAPT model can be a difficult balance.

Tower Hamlets

The authority delivers mental health awareness training to a number of organisations, e.g. mosques, churches, colleges, Carers Trust, Rethink etc, as well as social prescribers and care providers

Barnet and Enfield

Barnet and Enfield have large Farsi speaking and Turkish populations respectively, so the IAPT service and CCG awarded a subcontract to the Multilingual wellbeing service (MWS) to provide mother tongue therapies to this population. MWS provides some e-triage, online psychoeducational workshops and treatment and 60% of this is expected to be in the second language. The partnership has worked well and allowed the Barnet IAPT service to reach ethnic minority groups more effectively than the service would otherwise have.

Camden and Islington

IAPT services have local partnerships with a number of organisations, which they sub-contract with to provide a certain number of therapy sessions, for example:

The IAPT team trains staff from these organisations on how to use IAPTUS and on the IAPT model, and have encouraged community sector staff to attend IAPT counselling training.

The clinical leads from each organisation (IAPT and the community partners) meet monthly to look at data on waiting times, share clinical governance practices and discuss risks. They will discuss which patients are best seen within IAPT vs other therapy options.

Organisationally and clinically it is a very positive experience, and really effective. However, it can be a challenge to fit community provision into the IAPT model.


The IAPT team are part of the integrated care partnership (ICP) in Hillingdon, which comprises mental health and community services. This supports the service’s intention to work more directly with the voluntary sector.

The service is developing plans for a one-stop-shop partnership with wider MH groups and the voluntary sector to develop a drop in centre on the high street, to meet partners and offer the population a range of information around MH services.

Additional resources:

THRIVE LDN – Community conversations toolkit: