NHS Lanarkshire is involved in a ground breaking trial project which is using online technology to help treat people with depression or anxiety.
A computerised Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) pilot allows mental health professionals the chance to offer digital therapy to patients with mild to moderate depression or anxiety.
Entitled Beating the Blues, early trials of the initiative in NHS Forth Valley and Tayside have led to its adoption by their psychological therapy departments with more than 7,000 patients benefitting.
Dr Gary Tanner, head of NHS Lanarkshire’s psychological services and chairman of the steering group overseeing the pilot in Lanarkshire, said: “Face to face CBT has been used for many years to treat depression, but this digital therapy will enable a much larger patient group to access this clinically proven digital treatment.
“Patients will be able to access the treatment from a range of different locations such as their own home or a local library, and at a time that suits them.
“So not only will the service provide improved access to psychological therapies for patients, it will increase patient choice and give them greater flexibility.”
Access to the programme is through NHS Lanarkshire’s psychological therapies’ teams. However, GPs will be able to refer directly to the programme from April 2015 with self-referrals being part of another phase later in the year.
Dr Michael Killoran Ross, head of NHS Lanarkshire’s psychological therapies (adult mental health) and chair of the implementation group, said: “This is a hugely exciting initiative which will provide opportunities for increased levels of patient care.
“Computerised CBT has been shown to be useful for all adults with mild to moderate depression and anxiety who require a flexible treatment. It’s a programme also suitable for patients who don’t like the idea of talking therapies.”