The British Psychological Society has published new free guidelines on delivering clinical psychology in acute adult mental health care.

The guidelines, Commissioning and Delivering Clinical Psychology in Acute Adult Mental Health Care: Guidance for Commissioners, Service Managers, Psychology Managers & Practitioners, are designed to address recent criticism about the limited access to clinical psychology in acute settings.

Written by clinical psychology experts, the guidelines provide details on how commissioners, managers and psychologists themselves can transform acute care, with examples of where this has been done.

Chartered clinical psychologist and lead author of the guidelines, Isabel Clarke, said: “Acute care and mental health inpatient units have long been criticised for failing service users and staff alike. The recent Schizophrenia Commission report was the latest to call for more availability of psychological therapy and approaches in acute care to remedy this. Yet, many inpatient units have no, or very limited, access to clinical psychology.

“Providing evidence-based therapy is only one part of the potential contribution of clinical psychology to acute services. We can also help service users make sense of their distress and become partners in their own recovery; working with the staff team to ensure that care is psychologically informed and holistic. We can also provide training and supervision in collaborative working and risk management that can produce a service where staff feel empowered and effective, and lengths of stay and unpleasant incidents are reduced."

The guidelines can be downloaded for free from: