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Digital clinics revolutionising mental healthcare globally

hsj(Source: https://www.hsj.co.uk/) Digital clinics globally meet mental health demands, relieving staff pressures and enhancing patient outcomes with evidence-based interventions, says Dan Duffy, senior digital health scientist at Amwell

Globally, publicly funded digital clinics (eg; NHS Talking Therapies in England1,2, HSE in Ireland3, Online Therapy Unit in Canada4, Mindspot in Australia4) are routinely facilitating the access of evidence-based digital treatments for thousands of people to help meet the rising demand for mental health support. Studies are showing that internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy can relieve time pressures on clinical staff, enabling a clinician to review and respond to a client asynchronously within 15-20 minutes8. Administration can also be optimised with integrations across technical systems ensuring relevant notes and symptom scores are transferred seamlessly across platforms, therefore reducing the time spent writing notes post session.

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SilverCloud® by Amwell® has 20 years of research in the field including a study utilising service data in England that shows iCBT programmes, like those delivered via the SilverCloud® by Amwell® platform, achieve standards of recovery and reliable improvement equivalent to those of other low-intensity interventions2. Furthermore, when used within the treatment of more severe cases as an adjunct to treatment or waitlist initiative, iCBT has been found safe and effective in reducing symptoms of depression6 and suicidal ideation7.

For services and organisations looking to integrate digital mental health, the implementation period is crucial to maximise the benefits of the digital tool9. When utilised effectively, these interventions can reduce friction and ease pain points across an organisation and allow for resources to be diverted where most needed.

Given the opportunity and service commitment, digital interventions can work together with a service or organisation to meet the rising demand for effective, evidence-based mental healthcare across the dynamic healthcare landscape.

Dan Duffy is senior digital health scientist, Amwell

SilverCloud® by Amwell® recently ran a conference exploring the road ahead for digital mental health interventions, from which HSJ has published a report


  1. Richards, D., Enrique, A., Eilert, N., Franklin, M., Palacios, J., Duffy, D., … & Timulak, L. (2020). A pragmatic randomized waitlist-controlled effectiveness and cost-effectiveness trial of digital interventions for depression and anxiety. NPJ digital medicine3(1), 85.
  2. Palacios, J., Adegoke, A., Wogan, R., Duffy, D., Earley, C., Eilert, N., … & Richards, D. (2023). Comparison of outcomes across low‐intensity psychological interventions for depression and anxiety within a stepped‐care setting: A naturalistic cohort study using propensity score modelling. British Journal of Psychology114(2), 299-314.
  3. Harty, S., Enrique, A., Akkol-Solakoglu, S., Adegoke, A., Farrell, H., Connon, G., Ward, F., Kennedy, C., Chambers, D. & Richards, D. (Under Review) Implementing digital mental health interventions at scale: One-year evaluation of a national digital CBT service in Ireland. International Journal of Mental Health Systems
  4. Hadjistavropoulos, H. D., Peynenburg, V., Thiessen, D. L., Nugent, M., Karin, E., Staples, L., … & Titov, N. (2022). Utilization, patient characteristics, and longitudinal improvements among patients from a provincially funded transdiagnostic Internet-delivered cognitive behavioural therapy program: Observational study of trends over 6 years. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry67(3), 192-206.
  5. Titov, N., Dear, B. F., Staples, L. G., Bennett-Levy, J., Klein, B., Rapee, R. M., … & Nielssen, O. B. (2017). The first 30 months of the MindSpot Clinic: Evaluation of a national e-mental health service against project objectives. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry51(12), 1227-1239.
  6. Duffy, D., Enrique, A., Connell, S., Connolly, C., & Richards, D. (2020). Internet-delivered cognitive behavior therapy as a prequel to face-to-face therapy for depression and anxiety: a naturalistic observation. Frontiers in psychiatry10, 902.
  7. Büscher, R., Beisemann, M., Doebler, P., Micklitz, H. M., Kerkhof, A., Cuijpers, P., … & Sander, L. B. (2022). Digital cognitive–behavioural therapy to reduce suicidal ideation and behaviours: a systematic review and meta-analysis of individual participant data. BMJ Ment Health25(e1), e8-e17.
  8. Richards., D., Enrique, A., Palacios, J., & Duffy, D. (2018). Internet-Delivered Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. In Ömer Şenormancı & G. Şenormancı (Eds.), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Clinical Applications (pp. 223-238). Netherlands: InTech
  9. Lipschitz, J., Hogan, T. P., Bauer, M. S., & Mohr, D. C. (2019). Closing the research-to-practice gap in digital psychiatry: the need to integrate implementation science. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry80(3), 8712.


(Originally published on https://www.hsj.co.uk/technology-and-innovation/digital-clinics-revolutionising-mental-healthcare-globally/7035269.article ) 

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