In 2017, one in nine children and young people (CYP) aged 5-19 had a probable mental health disorder. By 2020, this had risen to one in six, fuelled in part by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has placed huge burdens and impacts on children and young people’s mental health.
These impacts are not just felt by the children and young people but also by their families, who see their many pressures and uncertainties, especially as schools and colleges return after the summer holidays.
Research showed that 67% of young people believed that the pandemic will have a long-term negative effect on their mental health. This is mirrored by the recent increase in NHS referrals for children and young people with conditions and symptoms that include anxiety, depression, eating disorders, self-harm and panic attacks. The demand for counselling for children is at an all-time high, with extra pressure being put on existing health and wellbeing services This has also created extra anxiety and stress for families and supporters who want to help their loved ones.
The combination of underlying mental health challenges for children and young people coupled with the impact of the pandemic, led the Children’s Commissioner to estimate that 1.3 million children experience mental health problems in the UK. With 300,000 young people gaining access to NHS services and 75% of young people with mental health problems saying they aren't getting the help they need, there is a clear gap in service provision that digital can help to fill.
How SilverCloud is helping families
Alongside the large range of world-leading mental health programmes aimed at adults, SilverCloud have developed three dedicated CYP programmes to support children and young people’s mental health:
- Space from Anxiety (CYP)
- Supporting an Anxious Child
- Supporting an Anxious Teen
Each programme has multiple, specially designed modules, packed full of interactive content with practical advice, exercises, and hints, and tips to support users and their families.
These online programmes are based on cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) built, in conjunction with leading clinical experts, and focused solely on mental health in children and young people. They are developed in line with an update to the NICE guidelines on depression in children, which states that digital CBT is one of the most effective therapy methods in treating children and young people with mild depression.
Available 24/7, the programmes allow users to access the materials at any time, from their own devices, how and when it suits them. They cover a wide range of topics, including:
- Self esteem
- Sleep difficulties
- Anger management
- Communication and relationships – including getting on with family members
- Negative thoughts
- Exam stress
- Being mindful/in the present
- Managing difficult emotions
- Planning for the future
- Friendships and social groups
- Getting active and eating better
Unique to SilverCloud, our Supporting an Anxious Child and Supporting an Anxious Teen programmes are designed specifically to support parents and other carers so they can play an active role in helping their loved ones. They enable parents and carers to work through a number of modules that look at their own anxieties and also how to respond to children and young people who are anxious. This includes exercises that parents/caregivers can do with their child to help them manage their anxiety.
The programmes also provide mental health professionals with all the resources they need to support parents/carers to work through with their children, or to work through themselves. They are designed so that they can be used in CAMHS and preventative mental health services and used alongside the programmes for parents. Offering both programmes together can increase the effectiveness for families, addressing the needs of parents and young people at the same time.
Relevant and relatable content for children and young people
The programmes allow users to make progress at their own pace, without having to wait until the next session, and help the children and young people learn techniques that they are then encouraged to build into their day-to-day lives. Like all SilverCloud programmes they can be accessed on-demand 24/7.
The programmes are designed specifically to support children and young people’s mental health, using personal stories and case studies to match the profiles of the user population, with sections addressing issues affecting them, such as exam stress. They don’t talk down to children and young people but provide age-appropriate, relatable content in a straightforward tone and language.
Find out more about how SilverCloud can provide mental health support for children, young people, and their families.