Digital mental health service launched to support GPs

A new confidential mental health service has launched for GPs in England.

Doctors using the NHS GP Health Service now have access to SilverCloud Health, where more than 30 programmes to improve mental health are available.

The service, established in 2013, aims to help doctors dealing with anxiety, stress, lack of sleep or addiction. It uses Efficacy, a leading provider of psychological assessment and treatment, for its therapeutic support services.

Lee Grant, founder and clinical director of Efficacy and a practicing cognitive behavioural therapist, said: “A busy GP, working 8am to 8pm with a family at home might not be able to make a face-to-face therapy session.

“The SilverCloud platform makes it possible for them to access the service, and the great thing is that we have found it to be as effective as one-to-one therapy.

“When we asked one of our patients why that was, they said it was because they could access their programme when they needed to. Therapy is not just what happens ‘in therapy’ but the structure around it.”

The latest NHS Staff Survey found two in five NHS staff in England reported that they felt unwell from the stress of their job in the previous year, the highest figure for five years.

A survey by the Royal College of General Practitioners, conducted at the end of last year, found a third of GPs hope to exit their jobs in the next five years, with stress cited as the most common reason alongside retirement.

London-based Efficacy also provides cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for NHS Practitioner Health Programme, which was set up to support hospital doctors in 2008, and the GP Health Service, which was subsequently set up by the same team to work with GPs and GP trainees.

The GP Health Service refers GPs to Efficacy, which assesses the referrals to determine the most appropriate channel through which to deliver CBT, whether it’s face-to-face, over the phone, or online using the SilverCloud platform with the support of a senior accredited therapist.

Lloyd Humphreys, head of Europe for SilverCloud Health, said: “Along with a host of other initiatives being delivered by the NHS, Efficacy’s use of the SilverCloud platform will make sure that timely and effective support is provided for doctors using the GP Health Service. The impact of protecting the workforce is wide-ranging and SilverCloud is proud to support any initiative that does just that.”

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