Online mental health therapies to be rolled out in Wales

Over 130,000 people in Wales will have access to a digital mental health service through a new programme with digital health company, SilverCloud Health.

SilverCloud Health will work with the Powys Teaching Health Board (PTHB) to provide programmes for mental health issues such as stress, anxiety and depression. More so, the company will offer a range of programme specifically designed for younger people suffering from mental health issues.

The partnership comes after PTHB secured funding from the Welsh Government through the Efficiency Through Technology Fund (ETTF) for a national online CBT therapies programme. The project will initially only focus on the population in Powys but it’s hoped that the other health board in Wales will follow suit.

SilverCloud is used by over 60% of NHS Mental Health providers across England and offers the broadest a range of evidence-based programmes for conditions including stress, depression and anxiety as well as specific programmes for long-term chronic conditions.

A launch event in Wales for the partnership was attended by Welsh Government officials and representatives from the six other Welsh national health boards to discuss progression towards a national roll-out of these services.

Health secretary Vaughan Gething said: “I am committed to improving access to mental health services throughout Wales so that patients can get the treatment they need more quickly and easily. This innovative project will allow patients to access CBT-based therapies online in their own homes. It is an excellent example of how we can use technology to meet the increasing demand on the modern NHS in Wales. I look forward to seeing how the project develops.”

Speaking at the launch in Powys, Rhiannon Jones – director of Community Care, Mental Health and Therapies, PTHB said: “We are delighted to partner with SilverCloud Health, enabled through a Welsh Government Technology Grant, to implement online Cognitive Behavioural Therapy across Powys. The large geography of the County, coupled with rurality and isolation can present a challenge for timely and accessible mental health services. Online CBT will address some of these challenges, whilst also focusing on prevention, early help and support and self-management across all ages, using evidence-based technology.”

SilverCloud’s CEO Ken Cahill said: “We are delighted to have PTHB on board as a partner and look forward to working with them and seeing the same kind of results that our programmes have achieved elsewhere across the UK, namely a user satisfaction of 98% and programme completion at 80%. Being able to offer as much choice as possible to people in terms of access to mental health support is vital to ensuring we curb the rising epidemic of anxiety and depression. We look forward to offering the same services to the other Welsh health boards as part of a national roll-out.”