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Referrals milestone for NHS Wales' digital mental health service

Young girl looking down at her phone blue and white background with SilverClould and NHS Wales logo.

NHS Wales’ online mental health support service has hit 30,000 referrals since piloting six years ago.

The free service - powered by digital mental health platform SilverCloud - was successfully trialled in Powys in May 2018 and expanded across Wales three years later in response to the COVID pandemic.

Project manager Fionnuala Clayton said the referrals milestone reflected NHS Wales’ determination to break down barriers to care, and demonstrated the public were willing to embrace digital provision. 

Said Fionnuala: “Tens of thousands of people have discovered the benefits of our online support service, which has no waiting lists, fits in with their lifestyle and focuses on prevention first.

“With new referral pathways already in place and more exciting developments in the pipeline, it looks set to go from strength to strength. We look forward to continuing our support offer to more patients as the project continues.”

The service - funded by the Welsh Government - is based at Powys Teaching Health Board.

SilverCloud’s interactive programmes teach practical coping skills for mild to moderate mental health issues and can be accessed online anytime, anywhere via any mobile, tablet, laptop or desktop device.

They’re available free of charge to anyone in Wales aged 16+ without a GP referral.

Patients can also be referred to the service by Powys-based healthcare practitioners, and via partnerships with the Welsh Ambulance Services University Trust, and Aneurin Bevan and Cwm Taf University Health Boards.

Support through the programmes is provided for 12 weeks, but service users can set their own pace and access material and exercises even after completing courses.

Progress is monitored by trained practitioners, who provide fortnightly feedback and can escalate more serious cases to access further support.

Of the 30,000 referrals, over half have been for adults needing support with anxiety and depression.

Almost 2000 have sought help with stress, while hundreds more have needed support with panic, sleep and obsessive-compulsive disorders.

Programmes are also in place to support children, young people and their parents or carers.

One Swansea-based mother explained how the service supported her ten-year-old daughter who was struggling with anxiety, and said it had proved transformative.

The mum, who asked not to be named, added: “It was a big success and I’d definitely recommend it.

“My daughter was dealing with crippling separation anxiety – she didn’t want to go anywhere without me, dropped out of all her clubs and was tearful going into school every day.

“She very quickly learnt to recognise how her anxiety was affecting her, and within a few months she was able to attend karate lessons alone. She moved up to secondary school and settled in really well.

“There were lots of lovely exercises in there, lots of meditation tailored to children and strategies for coping with the anxiety. We still use them today if she feels her anxiety creeping back.”

Learn more about SilverCloud at:

To sign up via self-referral, visit: