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Marking World Mental Health Day

Helping people access mental health care

More than 300,000 people suffering with mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression have now been treated through innovative digital therapy programmes developed as a result of a partnership between Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and SilverCloud Health, the world’s leading digital mental health company.

The collaboration between SilverCloud and the mental health and community trust is at the heart of the development of a suite of digital programmes accessible by patients online and a template for digital health delivery for the NHS in England.

The programmes are now incorporated in more than 75% of NHS IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) services, reflecting Berkshire Healthcare’s position as one of a handful of NHS mental health trusts announced as a “Global Digital Exemplar” by NHS England for transforming patient care and engagement through new technology.

New figures released today (10 October 2019) to support World Mental Health Day, organised by the World Health Organisation to raise awareness and counter stigma towards mental health, show that in reaching the milestone more than 1.1 million hours of digital therapy have been delivered with over 65% of people benefitting from clinically significant improvement, against an NHS IAPT recovery target of 50%.

As part of recovery support from Berkshire Healthcare, Estelle received digital therapy through selected SilverCloud programmes after having to take six months off from a senior management position with a FTSE100 company with anxiety and depression caused by stress.

The mother-of-three said: “I found the modules extremely easy and handy to use, for instance, while I was sitting in a cafe or at the side of a river. Free online services, supported with professional help, should be available to everyone.

“If you have a scratchy throat, you can buy paracetamol tablets very cheaply in a supermarket. Why isn’t there the same easy availability for help for common mental health issues?”

Psychologists and supporting psychological wellbeing practitioners welcome its clinical success, saving on resource – four to six times as many people can be supported through SilverCloud – and reduced cost, and its reduction of relapse.

Judith Chapman,  Development Director at Berkshire Healthcare, said: “Our approach to developing digital therapy in collaboration with SilverCloud Health is very successfully meeting the needs of patients. They do not have to wait for support and can start their recovery journey quickly, with excellent clinical outcomes within the challenges of budget constraints and with reduced constraints on accommodation that would otherwise be required for clinical space.

“I would like to see what is available in Berkshire, available to people across the UK.”

Dr Lloyd Humphrey, Head of Europe, SilverCloud Health, said: “Digital therapy has come of age, it is no longer a question of the effectiveness of this mode of treatment but more ‘how can we provide access to the whole population’. SilverCloud has the largest evidence-base of any digital therapeutic approach and has been shown to improve mental health even after 12 months following discharge. The outcome and impact is unprecedented and we hope to reach even more people through our scalable approach and working with the NHS and their patient-centered initiatives, such as the NHS App.”