NICE recommends digital apps for depression or anxiety

NICE has recommended nine digital therapies to support adults with anxiety disorders and adults with depression.

Six therapies have been recommended by NICE for anxiety: Beating the Blues, Space from Anxiety, Spring for PTSD, iCT-PTSD, iCT-SAD and Perspectives. Three digital therapies have been recommended for depression: Beating the Blues, Deprexis and Space from Depression.

The therapies have been approved by NICE for use in the NHS, however they now require Digital Technology Assessment Criteria approval, a completed NHS Talking Therapies for anxiety and depression digitally enabled therapies assessment from NHS England, and to have a CE or UKCA mark approval.

According to NHS Digital statistics, one in six people report experiencing a common mental health problem such as anxiety and depression in any given week in England. In 2021-22, there were 527,094 referrals accessing NHS Talking Therapies for depression and anxiety services with a presenting complaint of anxiety and stress related disorders.

NICE added that: “Digitally enabled therapies for anxiety require on average 4 hours of clinician or practitioner time compared with 10 hours required for standard care.”

Mark Chapman, interim director of medical technology and digital evaluation, at NICE, commented: “We know NHS Talking Therapies services are in demand and people are facing waits of several weeks. A part of the solution could be the use of digitally enabled therapies recommended by our committee which could increase the number of people receiving the treatment they need sooner.

“One of our priorities is to get the best care to people fast while at the same time ensuring value for money for the taxpayer – these digitally enabled therapies do both. Every person seen by an NHS Talking Therapies clinician or practitioner is assessed so their needs can be fully understood. The choice of a digitally enabled therapy must be the right one for the individual, ensuring that they get the care they need.”

NICE is now to further review evidence generated and carry out a “full assessment on the clinical and cost effectiveness of these interventions”.