The Big Question! Why is the NHS turning to online therapy programmes for patients?
Would it be to increase accessibility?
Is it to reduce costs?
Could it be the government’s desire for data-driven healthcare or is it simply the NHS going private?
Mental Health Care Within the NHS
Depression and anxiety affect one in six of the UK population. Consequently, it costs the economy around £4 billion a year in lost productivity and incapacity benefits.
Hence there remains a desperate public and medical need for accessible, affordable and convenient talking therapies.
Extra NHS Funding for Digital Mental Health Care
“We see a pivotal role for digital technology in driving major changes to mental health services, over the next five years” (NHS, 2016).
Theresa May announced extra funding in January 2017 to expand digital mental health services.
As a result, this extra funding will speed up the delivery of a £67.7 million digital mental health package.
However, the opening up of NHS contracts to private organisations remains controversial.
Benefits of NHS Online Therapy
As NHS waiting lists remain long, isn’t it better that there’s at least somewhere to turn to?
It’s difficult for people with social anxiety to open up to a stranger face-to-face, online can be the solution.
Some people have no idea where to talk, but spend lots of time online, and this could fit their character.
Some people may also find online therapy helpful at that particular time in their life.
Furthermore, it could be the gateway for some people to engage later in face-to-face therapy.
Three More Questions to Ask!
Are we creating a barrier when we use online self-help programmes?
Is it simply a pale version of the intimate relationship that takes place face-to-face with a therapist?
Finally, can online self-help programmes really work?
What are your thoughts?
Where To Talk is happy to hear them!
Note: Online self-help programmes are not intended for people with severe mental illness. In these instances, contacting your GP or psychological therapies dept. is advisable and hopefully helpful.