DUBLIN (Sept. 22, 2021) – Digital health company, SilverCloud Health, the leading provider of evidence-based online mental health and behavioural healthcare solutions, has been partnering with the HSE on a national rollout of digital cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) to address depression and anxiety in Ireland in an effort to make comprehensive mental health support widely available.
This online CBT service is currently available to receive referrals from Primary Care Psychology, the National Counselling Service, Jigsaw and GPs across Ireland, enabling people to start accessing support within 24 hours of referral.
SilverCloud has been working with the HSE primary care psychology services for over 18 months on a targeted pilot basis to deliver the SilverCloud Health platform and programmes for depression and anxiety treatments.
- This pilot has proven to be a huge success in helping those experiencing mental health difficulties in Ireland. For example;
- For individuals presenting with severe clinical symptoms of anxiety and depression -at post-treatment up to 88% demonstrated significant reductions in symptoms.
- Online CBT has not only been shown to have a positive impact on reducing demand for face-to-face services but within two months of use up to 57% of users who had a clinical diagnosis of anxiety and depression at the outset were diagnosis free.
Speaking on the partnership Dr. Derek Richards, Chief Science Officer of SilverCloud Health, says:
“We know from research that digitally delivered cognitive behaviour therapy with clinical guidance is effective for treating depression and anxiety1. We have been working closely with the HSE as they make the best evidence-based mental health supports available to people across Ireland, and SilverCloud’s digitally-delivered cognitive behaviour therapy is one of these. On-time and on-demand access to evidence-based digital cognitive behaviour therapy will positively impact people across Ireland, especially now, as GPs and other health services are under pressure in their communities due to Covid-19”.
As part of the HSE’s digital mental health strategy and supported by trained clinical staff, the service user journey is quick and easy. Once referred, the platform allows you access to either ‘Space from Depression’ or ‘Space from Anxiety’ programmes within 24 hours.
Assistant National Director – HSE Mental Health Operations Jim Ryan said:
“We have seen the positive impact digital mental health supports have had in the last year and a half, particularly in opening up access to services. Many people can receive effective treatment for mental health difficulties at Primary Care level and we know that early intervention can make a huge difference. Programmes like SilverCloud, with clinical oversight, will provide timely support to people who might otherwise have to wait for a face-to-face consultation, helping to ensure the right level of support is provided, at the right time. In line with our National Mental Health Policy, Sharing the Vision, we will continue to invest in these areas to improve accessibility for appropriate supports and make it easier for our Primary Care Psychologists, Counselling in Primary Care Teams and other primary care workers providing services on our behalf such as Jigsaw, to refer people on to another effective support option in a more efficient way.”
Fiona Ward, Director of Counselling with the HSE National Counselling Service added
“Access to an evidence based programme such as SilverCloud, to address anxiety and depression is a really important and helpful addition to the range of Mental Health Supports being provided by the HSE and we have seen some really encouraging results from the SilverCloud programme to date. Covid -19 has impacted significantly on service users' mental health with increasing demand for services. Having access to SilverCloud means more people can start availing of psychological support straight away. Since the Pandemic we have seen that people are more comfortable using digital technologies to get support for their mental health. The SilverCloud platform gives people the flexibility to work through the programme in their own time while still getting support along the way."
Dr Brian Osborne, Assistant Medical Director, Irish College of General Practitioners, said:
"This new e-platform for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a welcome development. As GPs, we are at the frontline of mental health care in the community and in primary care. This platform offers another support for GPs to offer to their patients, at a time when mental health services are in increasing demand.
Face-to-face interaction with GPs has gradually returned as the COVID-19 pandemic recedes in Ireland. E-health platforms such as this work best with a mix of face-to-face guidance and online supports. "
The SilverCloud platform provides internet-based CBT and other proven methods to help people manage mental health and wellbeing. Worldwide, over 750,000 people have been helped through over 500 organisations using the platform’s digital therapy programmes, equating to the delivery of over two million hours of online therapy. The accessibility that SilverCloud Health provides through its platform means support is now available to those who may not have the ability to access conventional services. People now have a mechanism to receive evidenced-based and effective treatment.
Details on how to refer to the SilverCloud Programme can be found here:
How to refer a patient with SilverCloud Health
If you are a GP or work in Primary Care Psychology, Counselling in Primary Care, or Jigsaw you can make patient and client referrals to the SilverCloud service via email:
Using your Healthmail email, send the name and email address of the client or patient you wish to refer, along with any other important details to SilverCloud@healthmail.ie.
The SilverCloud Admin will then contact your client or patient and invite them to the service with their own personal login. This grants them access to the platform and can be done on any device.
After logging in, they will be assigned a clinical supporter, who will contact them weekly, guiding them through their journey. This will solely be on the platform to help keep them on track.
The platform is not appropriate for anyone experiencing severe mental health symptoms, e.g. psychosis, or if they have expressed wishes and/or plans to end their life or harm others.
1 Richards, D., Enrique, A., Eilert, N., Franklin, M., Palacios, J., Duffy, D., Earley, C., Chapman, J., Jell, G., Sollesse, S., Timulak, L. (2020). A pragmatic randomized waitlist-controlled effectiveness and cost-effectiveness trial of digital interventions for depression and anxiety. npj Digital Medicine. 3, 85. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41746-020-0293-8 Link to Paper