Computerised cognitive behavioural therapy rolls out across Scotland

Maureen Watt Scottish Government Mental Health StrategyA national computerised cognitive behavioural therapy (cCBT) programme to support improved mental health will be up and running across Scotland by the end of the year, the Scottish Government said in a statement.

The Government’s mental health strategy commits it to develop more accessible psychological therapy self-help resources and support the national rollout of cCBT with NHS 24 by 2018.

Following a successful pilot in a number of health board areas, the programme is being rolled out to all Scottish territorial boards, supported by TEC (Technology Enabled Care) funding.

The Government said that cCBT services are proven to:

  • improve patient access to psychological therapies
  • provide additional treatment choice and early intervention
  • act as a first choice treatment for those with mild to moderate depression and/or anxiety

Figures published today show further increases in both psychological therapies and ‎child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) workforce. The Government said that the psychological therapies workforce has increased by 61% and the CAMHS workforce by 68%, with the number of CAMHS psychologists having doubled.

The latest figures from ISD Scotland also show that 80.7% of CAMHS patients were seen within 18 weeks during the quarter ending 30 June 2017, up from 77.7% in the same quarter last year, it said in the statement.

Maureen Watt, minister for mental health, said: “I’m really pleased to see the progress being made on computerised CBT, which is something we’ve committed to in our mental health strategy.

“I have been clear that giving people easy access to the treatment they need in a timely and efficient manner is an absolute priority for this government.

“We know that cCBT is clinically and cost effective, is recommended by NICE and SIGN clinical guidelines and access to it is almost instant, with minimal delays between referral and treatment.

“Therefore, cCBT will be a valuable tool in continuing to reduce our mental health waiting times. I am determined that we will hit our 90% target and we will continue to work with boards to make sure that happens right across Scotland.

“The mental health access improvement support team is working in partnership with boards to deliver sustained improvements, and ensure services are designed and delivered in the most efficient way.”

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Anne Joiner, co-ordinator of the Beating the Blues Project at NHS Tayside said: “Working within a role on the cCBT service, every day is different, there is a great sense of achievement and job satisfaction when you are helping and supporting patients and users overcome their own difficulties and depression.

“The many thank you cards and emails received supports the patients and users positive journey. A great benefit to online cCBT is it can be accessed almost immediately, therefore possibly alleviating patients/users mental health state becoming worse.”

Pictured: Maureen Watt meeting NHS Lothian staff, volunteers and service users earlier this year.