NHS Mental Health Apps Library launched

NHS England have launched a ground breaking initiative to help treat depression and anxiety and improve access to psychological therapies with the first ever directory of NHS-endorsed digital mental health services.

The Mental Health Apps Library features online tools, resources and apps that have a proven track record of effectiveness in improving mental health outcomes.

It will be accessible through the NHS Choices platform, a website which gathers over 40 million visits per month, 9.7 million of which are to pages on depression; 6 million per month to stress and 9.4 million to anxiety.

Mild and moderate mental health conditions are a major social issue, around 15% of the population is estimated to have a common mental health disorder but many find it difficult to seek help through traditional routes. Department of Health policy on improving mental health service accessibility highlights the fact that fewer than one in six older people with depression ever discuss this with their GP.

Online therapy offers patients flexibility through out of hour’s appointments as well as discretion for those worried about stigma and privacy.

The Mental Health Apps Library is the first experiment of the wider work currently being undertaken by the National Information Board to formally endorse and accredit digital services for use in clinical practice.

Tim Kelsey, National Director for Patients and Information, said: “We want to offer people the chance to use apps and digital tools routinely to help them take control of their own healthcare. There are online services already working for patients and we hope, by giving them our official backing, we will give clinicians, citizens and carers the confidence to use them. Digital platforms have a key role to play in improving access to psychological therapies and helping us meet our ambition of achieving parity of esteem for mental health services.”

Mental health was chosen as an initial focus due to the growing evidence base which proves the success of online tools in treating depression and anxiety.

Big White Wall is an online service which helps members to manage their mental health condition by offering quick access to support, guidance and individual live therapy over a secure link. Almost three-quarters of respondents to an internal review said they had talked about something for the first time on Big White Wall, 80% were able to self-manage their condition as a result, and 95% said it helped them feel better.

For further information, please check the NHS England's newsroom

More articles     Posted on: 24 March 2015