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Digital therapy programme to combat anxiety in young people

Digital therapy programme to combat anxiety in young people

Digital therapeutics provider SilverCloud has partnered with mental health charity Northpoint Wellbeing to co-develop a new digital therapy programme to alleviate anxiety in young people.

The treatment will be available for school clusters across the Leeds area and NHS Child and Adolescent Services Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in Calderdale. The programme is also being rolled out nationally to other NHS and education services.

The online treatment, based on cognitive behavioural therapy, is designed for young people 14 years and over but can be used for younger children if a professional assesses them as suitable. It has been developed over the last 12 months and fast-tracked to help this vulnerable group deal with these particularly challenging times and the uncertainty for Year 10 pupils around GCSE examinations and school attendance.

Anxiety problems are the most common mental health issue faced by young people. With estimates of 1.3 million children experiencing mental health problems and just 300,000 young people gaining access to NHS services, there is a need and gap in service provision that technology can help to fill.

Helen McGlinchey, school services manager & strategic lead at Northpoint said: “In light of increasing demand and in line with national service transformation sparked by the Future in Mind report and subsequent green paper, we saw the potential for this type of intervention to be used for the benefit of young people in our Leeds schools services and our Calderdale CAMHS service. It enables young people to be offered choice about their treatment, and it is consistent with early intervention as the programme can be offered with minimal waits at the point of referral.

“It has been a fantastic opportunity for us as an organisation to work with SilverCloud, co-developing and building the evidence base for this new digital treatment programme for young people. Anxiety is such a prevalent mental health issue for young people and having the programme as part of our service offer means we are able to support more young people.”

The programme builds on the SilverCloud platform that is available to adults referred to NHS mental health services, including Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services, where it is used by over 80% of services. It has also had a complete evaluation under the Medical Technologies Evaluation Programme from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). This acknowledges technologies that could offer substantial benefits to patients and the health and social care system over current practice. It is also the first such solution to be recognised as Tier 3b compliant on the NICE Evaluations Framework for Digital Technologies.

The new programme comes after the recent launch by SilverCloud of a specific ‘Space from COVID-19’ online support package. The COVID-19 response has been made available to all NHS services at no cost and is part of the NHS England mental health support package for frontline care workers, as well as being available through the Department of Health and Social Care’s new Care app.

Dr Lloyd Humphreys, head of Europe at SilverCloud, said: “Having changed the lives of nearly half a million people it was critically important for us to see how we could help young people manage their mental health and wellbeing during and beyond COVID-19. There is so much uncertainty, worry and anxiety around the pandemic and its impact that digital therapy has an important role in increasing accessibility to evidence-based support. Being a complete mental health solution, it was essential that the programme could be accessed by schools, as well as mental health services, and we are delighted to be working with Northpoint Wellbeing as pioneers in this area.”

Med-Tech Innovation

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