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Independents' Day

Patients to be encouraged to 'self manage' mental health online

CCGs and local authorities have invested £2.4 million in an online webtool for patients to ‘self manage’ their mental health.

The webtool, expected to launch in the autumn, will be commissioned led by NHS Tower Hamlets CCG, but will be available to patients in all of London. It has been jointly funded by all of the CCGs and the local authorities.

The tool, that will be available on both desktop and mobile platforms will give patients access to online information and support, while being monitored by mental health professionals.

It is designed to cut costs and reduce pressure on other services, CCG leaders said, as a recent report by the Greater London Authority revealed that poor mental health costs London a total of £26bn each year including health and social care to treat illness, benefits to support people living with mental ill health, costs to education services and the criminal justice system, and issues such as reduced productivity and quality of life.

According to Public Health England statistics, London has UK’s highest levels of anxiety and almost a third of Londoners report low levels of happiness. Over 15% of London’s adults are likely to have a common mental disorder such as anxiety, depression, phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder and panic disorders. Of these, only 24% are likely to be receiving clinical help for their condition.

Sir Sam Everington, local GP and chair of NHS Tower Hamlets CCG, said: ‘Pressures on the individual are preventable given the strong evidence that identifying and treating common mental health conditions early leads to better outcomes. Providing a service that allows Londoners to self-direct themselves to support and information could also help reduce the burden of demand on a range of health and care services.

‘Our vision is to improve Londoner’s mental wellbeing by offering an open access digital service which is available all year round. As both a preventive and self-managed support system, the service would be available online rather than require a visit, or referral to, a health service provider - something many Londoners would prefer. The service would be monitored 24/7 by trained mental wellbeing professionals.’

Readers' comments (8)

  • Hope the default isnt....go for a walk

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  • A noble venture. From a purely selfish point of view this will not reduce my workload by even one appointment. So a waste of money.

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  • Surely default will be go and see your GP......

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  • Take a look at It's been available for years. (Declared interest - It is my brother but I have no financial interest)

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  • What about the Big White Wall? Moodzone? and so on.... This is all available already and not really used very much; are we promoting it enough to our Patients? OR... actually, most (if not all) patients do prefer F2F contact. I speak from both points of view. Perhaps Sir Sam could pressure Holders of The Purse to bring back good old fashion counselling and not have anyone and everyone directed to CBT! Phobias - yes; Depression - NO!

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  • I guess this is the plan whilst......."Government plans 'minimum standard' for GP mental health training"...... takes place?!!

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  • Patients could be helped if they actually got the correct diagnosis in the first place and there was less of an urgency to treat all mental illness with medication.
    Psychiatrists need to realise there is a real person involved, look at what they can do rather than emphases on what they can't do, and stop labelling folk with negative labels.

    Stigma around mental illness was born in, and is nurtured by the NHS, get away from the 'them and us' approach and make psychiatrists available to the patients in the same way that GP's are, maybe then folk would get better much quicker without the 'quick fix'; approach.

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  • Tell a severely depressed patient to make the effort to go on line ... really!

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