Using digital technologies to scale mental health services

This year has highlighted the importance of mental health, like no other before it. The role of digital has shifted from ‘nice to have’ to be recognised as critical infrastructure in healthcare delivery.

With the inability to see people face-to-face and the reduced capacity for mental health service delivery, there is significant attention on digital health and technology solutions. Rather than being often considered a ‘nice to have’ they have become a critical part of enabling services to stay open.

At SilverCloud, we have seen service providers begin to take stock of their existing digital estate and leverage these assets. Scaling their existing tools across different services, and across the continuum of mental health. For example, using digital technology previously only used for those with mild to moderate mental health problems, to now support people with more severe and complex mental health issues or replicating digital pathways for adults with younger people.

Here we highlight two significant areas of innovation where digital therapy is helping child & adolescent mental health services and secondary care mental health services deliver better care.

Northpoint Wellbeing, Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services

At this time of increasing challenges and stressors from COVID-19, the uncertainty and anxiety over exams and returning to school, the demand for digitally enabled support has never been higher.  

 shutterstock_172248656-2In line with national service transformation sparked by Future in Mind and the Green Paper, Northpoint Wellbeing saw the potential for a digital intervention to be used for the benefit of young people in their Leeds schools services and Calderdale CAMHS service.  

Northpoint Wellbeing worked with the SilverCloud Health clinical team, alongside Action for Children, to review and identify the need within Children and Young Peoples services and create a new digital therapy programme to help with anxiety. 

“As a clinician using the digital programme with young people it has been really positive to see young people take ownership of their mental health by independently using the tools and content within the programme, at times with very minimal contact from a clinician. This has encouraged greater independence and less reliance on services, and built young people's confidence and resilience in problem solving and engaging in the tools to manage anxiety and low mood…” 
Belinda McLelland , CAMHS Therapeutic Practitioner , Open Minds Partnership (CAMHS)

“In regards to the programme I’ve learned everything I needed to know in terms of my mental health and I’m now having a fresh start and feel better about everything and I wanted to say thank you for all of your help, I truly appreciate it.” 
SilverCloud, Young Person User

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City and Hackney, secondary care mental health services

With increasing referrals and long waiting lists for secondary care mental health services City and Hackney looked at innovative ways to support patients with digital therapy.

“This is an exciting pilot which has demonstrated the applicability of programmes to people with more severe and complex mental health issues. It is also an important part of our overall approach for this patient group, which focuses on empowering people to manage their own wellbeing supported by online resources, which connect to professional oversight”
Dan Burningham Mental Health Programme Director, NHS City & Hackney CCG.

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