Digital mental health provider, SilverCloud, has released a new whitepaper about the impact of COVID-19 on the delivery of mental health services.
Entitled, ‘Digital Mental Health in the Wake of a Global Pandemic: Reshaping Service Delivery’, the paper also takes a closer look at how increasing demand for mental health support has been met, the challenges around maximising the positive impact of using digital mental health tools, and recommendations for the delivery of mental health services at scale.
The 10-page publication leads with the key message that – according to the Royal College of Psychiatrists – around 4,000 children and young people, and 2.2 million adults, have so far sought mental health support during the COVID-19 pandemic. It also cites research from the Office for National Statistics that one in five adults in Great Britain – roughly 21 per cent – experienced some form of depression in early 2o21.
By setting the scene, and providing actionable insights and suggestions, the whitepaper aims to act as a resource to help shape the “re-evaluating and recalibrating” of mental health services, with digital therapy “now seen as having parity with other forms of intervention and having a key role in ensuring that future mental health services can be delivered at scale.”
In an introduction to the report, SilverCloud CEO, Ken Cahill states: “You are no doubt aware of the enormous impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on mental health, both at an individual and a societal level. Thankfully there were some solutions being shaped before the pandemic that will help to mitigate the parallel mental health crisis.
“Now these digital health solutions have gone from not just an option but a necessity, and it is key that they are considered from all perspectives, from understanding the evidence base, to navigating the complex digital ecosystem on offer, and considering how service delivery must adapt to incorporate these solutions in an optimal way.”
On the challenges facing services, he added: “Some of those challenges are short-term, such as responding to the mental health needs of a growing section of the population by scaling up existing solutions. Some are more long-term, such as rethinking and reshaping how services implement and deliver such digital mental health solutions.”
One area of note is the whitepaper’s dedicated section on “key considerations that are essential for integrating internet- delivered Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (iCBT)” and recommendations for “reshaping the delivery of digital mental health therapy to create technology-enabled mental health services and processes”, with a focus on addressing inequalities and ensuring flexibility.
The literature also sets out four ‘key groups of people’ that should be considered in the mental health response to COVID-19: those feeling the impact and stresses of the situation on their daily lives; those who have contracted COVID and suffered significant physical effects; frontline workers who may have experienced danger, loss and/or exhaustion; and those with pre-existing mental health conditions who may have struggled to access support, or have seen their symptoms worsen, during the pandemic.
Using this as a basis, SilverCloud explains the company’s own response to the situation and how it has moved to provide support to customers, the NHS and care workers, including through the recent launch of its ‘Space From COVID’ online resources, which are freely available to the public, as previously reported by HTN.
To read the new SilverCloud whitepaper in full, for free, visit the dedicated page to register.
For more content on digital mental health, you can also visit our channel on the topic. And, for further reading on SilverCloud, read our feature on how the provider is supporting Children and Young People through Carlisle Eden Mind, or take a look at our latest interview with Professor John Sharry, one of the company’s co-founders.