Thirty-two sites across England are to receive funding to roll out talking therapies which have been successfully trialled in east London and Doncaster.
The first funding instalment, £33m, will be channelled to between two and five PCTs in each of England's 10 Strategic Health Authorities. The money will be used to train a new workforce to provide low and high-intensity therapies for people who are suffering from depression and anxiety disorders.
The government has pledged that the initiative will slash waiting times and aid patient recovery in line with the two trials which saw more than half of the 5,000 patients seen achieve "measurable recovery" and a 10% rise in the numbers who returned to work.
More PCTs are set to join the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies programme over the next three years, with £103m earmarked for 2009-10, rising to £173m by 2010-11.
The care services minister Ivan Lewis said: "This initiative will transform the way the NHS helps people with depression and anxiety disorders. It will help to reduce the stigma associated with mental health problems."
Over the next three years, 3,600 extra therapists will be trained and offer treatment to 900,000 people. In the first year, at least 700 therapists will be trained and see around 100,000 people.
Training places at higher education institutions are expected to become available through the NHS Jobs website http://www.jobs.nhs.uk from late June.