Young people and their families in Wales can now access free online mental health therapy through the NHS without needing to be referred by a GP.
Following a successful pilot in Powys, SilverCloud online therapy has made available a suite of new support programmes to help young people manage their mental health and wellbeing.
Parents and carers can sign up for a free 12-week online therapy programme to help children and young people aged 4-18 with mild-to-moderate anxiety. Teens aged 16-18 can also sign up themselves, without needing adult consent, for support with anxiety or low mood directly via their mobile, tablet or laptop.
Programmes to support children and young people:
Supporting an Anxious Child – for parents of children aged 4-11
Supporting an Anxious Teen – for parents of young people aged 12-18
Space from Anxiety – for young people aged 16-18
Space from Low Mood – for young people aged 16-18
Space from Low Mood and Anxiety – for young people aged 16-18
The Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing. 1 in 6 children and young people had a diagnosable mental health condition in 2021, such as anxiety or depression.¹ This is up from 1 in 9 in 2017.²
Since launching its self-referral programmes for adults in September 2020, the online therapy service has helped over 30,000 people in Wales manage their mental health and wellbeing. Having the service available to support children and young people will enable thousands more people to get the support they need.
The roll-out of the service to young people and their families across Wales aims to meet the increase in demand for children’s mental health services by providing early access to support for those who need it.
SilverCloud’s platform is delivered by NHS Wales in partnership with SilverCloud by Amwell®, a leading provider of clinically proven digital Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).
Jess Ferdinando, Psychological Assistant and Clinical Coordinator, SilverCloud in Wales says:
“The past couple of years have been particularly difficult for children and their families. As well as navigating the usual stresses of growing up, young people are still living with the impacts of a global health crisis.
“Supporting children and young people who are struggling with their mental health can be challenging. SilverCloud Wales offers practical, clinically proven help for young people and their carers to understand and manage anxiety and low mood.
“All our programmes are packed with useful insights, practical tools and activities to empower young people to manage their problems and apply what they learn in their daily lives. When life gets busy, SilverCloud is flexible; you can access our online therapy programmes from any online device and work through them at your own pace.
“Our pilot of the children’s and young person’s service has already had a positive impact in Powys, so I’m thrilled we’ve been able to extend this support to young people and their families throughout Wales.”
SilverCloud programmes are based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), an evidence-based therapy that works by encouraging young people to challenge the way they think and behave to become better equipped to deal with life’s challenges.
SilverCloud’s technology is supported by a team of online cognitive behavioural therapy co-ordinators who provide regular personalised feedback and guidance to users, meaning that they get the benefit of both an on-line service and also one delivered by clinical professionals.
Each 12-week programme features tools and activities to help young people build skills to manage their anxiety or low mood. For the best results young people and their families are advised to use the service 3-4 times a week for 15-30 minutes each time.
NHS Digital (2021). Mental Health of Children and Young People in England 2021’. Available at: https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/mental-health-of-children-and-young-people-in-england/2021-follow-up-to-the-2017-survey
NHS Digital (2018). Mental Health of Children and Young People in England 2017. Available at: https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/mental-health-of-children-and-young-people-in-england/2017/2017