Psychological therapies for severe mental health problems

Psychological therapies for severe mental health problems (PT-SMHP), is an integrated offer included in the NHS Long Term Plan. Severe Mental Health Problems include Psychosis, Bipolar Disorder, Personality Disorder and Eating Disorders. Psychological therapies for severe mental health problems are a key element of the overall community-based offer of mental health care for adults and older adults. One of the broad objectives of the Long Term Plan is: 

to ensure that adults and older adults with a range of Severe Mental Health Problems have access meaningful care, and be supported through evidence based psychological therapies in the community in a timely manner.

People with Severe Mental Health Problems experience a wide range of other conditions beyond their diagnosis of psychosis, bipolar disorder, eating disorder, or ‘personality disorder’, including depression and anxiety disorders (including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)). The PT-SMHP programme will therefore expand psychological therapy capacity in a way that allows these co-occurring conditions to be treated in line with the overall Long Term Plan objective to deliver whole-person, person-centred care.

Our programme

NHS England aims to fundamentally transform the care offer and shift the culture of care within community-based mental health services towards a more balanced biopsychosocial approach. In order to achieve NHS England’s long-term Mental Health Transformation plan, Transformation Partners in Health and Care (TPHC) has been commissioned to deliver the Psychological Therapies for Severe Mental Health Problems (PT-SMHP) programme, working to achieve the following:

  1. Establish and provide ongoing support to the Clinical Reference Group (CRG) – a consortium with representatives from nine mental health trusts in London. Through this, the programme aims to pool the expertise of clinical leads across London to determine strategic priorities and share learning across the region as it pertains to the delivery of Psychological therapies for severe mental health problems (PT-SMHP).
  2. Support Health Education England (HEE) in the roll out of region wide trainings and other initiatives to upskill the PT-SMHP workforce.
  3. Increase the supervision capacity Pan London, thereby enhance the way they deliver psychological therapies to service users. This will result in better patient outcomes.
  4. Facilitate Quality Improvement (QI) projects to address barriers to accessing psychological therapies through co-production with Lived Experience Practitioners (LXPs).


The programme sets out to achieve the objectives stated in the NHS long term plan, through three workstreams. Click the headings below for more information on each area.

  • Secretariat support to the Programme Clinical Reference Group (CRG)
  • Liaison with HEE to support the roll out of HEE-funded trainings and other initiatives e.g., recruit to train and introduction of new roles
  • Strategic engagement with Regional and National PT-SMHP programme leads
  • Co-ordination of LXP involvement in the programme
  • London region funding devolved from national programme for the years 21-22, 22-23 and 23-24
  • Contracted suppliers are delivering supervision sessions to eligible staff through this programme. About 245 staff will get benefitted through the programme.
  • Identified 3 priority areas for quality improvement that will contribute to addressing barriers to accessing PT-SMHP
  • Equity of access in PT-SMHP
  • Raise the profile of PT-SMHP

Our aim is for these workstreams to drive improvements in patient outcomes for people receiving psychological therapy in London, through supporting the professional development and competency of the workforce, raising the profile of PT-SMHP regionally and identifying opportunities to advance equity of access. Improving the capacity, capability and competency of the workforce and will thereby help service users to receive good quality care. Oversight and strategic guidance is provided by a Clinical Reference Group, which is a consortium of clinical leads from mental health trusts across London and the performance monitored by NHS England – London.

Browse our latest workstream updates and resources below.