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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Therapy For You Offers Innovative Online CBT Courses to Enhance Mental Health Access

Therapy For You, a service provided by the NHS Talking Therapies in North East and South East Essex, is revolutionising access to mental health support through a range of clinically-driven online Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) courses. Developed in collaboration between Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (EPUT) and Omnitherapy, these courses offer immediate and convenient mental health assistance to patients.

In response to the growing need for improved mental health services, with the UK government pledging an additional £150 million in funding earlier this year, Therapy For You aims to address the challenges of limited availability and the social stigma associated with traditional face-to-face therapy. By offering free, first-of-their-kind online CBT courses, the service is helping thousands of individuals in Colchester, Tendring, Southend, Castle Point, and Rochford develop essential techniques to support their wellbeing.

Richard Black, NHS Talking Therapies Digital Services Manager at EPUT, emphasises the importance of accessible services: “Accessing vital mental health support can take time or be an intimidating prospect for some. But that doesn’t mean patients should have to go without support during their wait or compromise on their wellbeing altogether. We identified a need for people to be able to access services online.”

Therapy For You provides a range of online CBT courses led by qualified NHS Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners (PWPs). The current collection of 9 courses include:

These courses, presented through video sessions, include topics such as depression, stress and anxiety, panic attacks, self-esteem, physical health problems, bereavement, mindfulness, stress management in parenthood, and postnatal depression.

Upon creating a free account on the Therapy For You website, patients can immediately begin any online course. At the start of each course, individuals complete clinically-approved mood assessment questionnaires, namely GAD 7 and PHQ 9. These questionnaires are regularly repeated throughout the course to monitor the users’ change in mood as they implement the learned techniques.

Richard explains the importance of these assessments: “By screening how patients feel before they get started, we get a strong impression of their overall mood, which both we and our users can monitor over the duration of the course. This informs us of how they are getting on and whether expert intervention is needed at any point in their journey.”

Each course is tailored to address specific problems users may be facing, utilising CBT techniques to break negative cycles between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. The courses are video-led, accompanied by downloadable resources that encourage individuals to apply the learned techniques in practice. The content is divided into smaller sessions with a mandatory 4-day break between sessions to ensure digestibility and accessibility.

Therapy For You’s pioneering online therapy approach has already yielded remarkable success, helping thousands in the local community access vital mental wellbeing support. Richard emphasises the commitment to further enhancing the library of resources and empowering users to develop lasting CBT skills for life, making the service a valuable digital resource in an increasingly digital world.

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