NHS offers one-to-one digital scheme to help anxiety sufferers

Therapy to treat anxiety and depression is being offered for free from the ease and comfort of people’s phones.

The scheme means anyone feeling overcome by negative feelings can text for help rather than needing to see a GP to access the therapy.

The one-to-one digital scheme is currently for residents in Kent and is being run by private company ieso for the health authority.

People who have regular negative feelings, anxiety or depression can contact a therapist online who will help them “learn practical skills” to help manage their negative feelings “day to day”.

The therapist will be trained in cognitive behavioural therapy, which has been shown to help people overcome anxiety, depression and other common mental health problems.

According to ieso, accessing help by text or email has been proven to be just as effective as working with therapists face-to-face.

An ieso spokesperson said: “Ieso was commissioned by NHS Kent and Medway as one of eight talking therapies providers in the area.

“Individuals can self-refer to ieso’s service to receive treatment for depression and anxiety with our accredited clinicians.

“Ieso works across England and Scotland, and has treated more than 115,000 NHS patients over the past 10 years.” CBT is based on the concept that thoughts, feelings, physical sensations and actions are interconnected, and that negative thoughts and
feelings can trap you in a negative cycle.

It aims to change these negative patterns to improve the way people feel.

Dr Daniel Kolubinski, head of the psychological division at London South Bank University, welcomed the move but warned it was not a “cure-all”.

He said: “Studies show CBT only has a 60-70 percent success rate for low-level depression and anxiety so some patients might need to use another form of therapy.”

Medway council was unable to comment.


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