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Health Board's new partnership to help people access free online mental health therapy

People in North Wales who are experiencing mental health difficulties are being encouraged to access a range of free online therapy courses, which are available without a referral from their GP.

To mark World Mental Health Day on October 10th, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board have launched a partnership with south Gwynedd based charity Tan y Maen to help people access the new SilverCloud courses.

SilverCloud enables people to access free online therapy courses from their computer, tablet or smartphone, which they can complete at their own pace from the comfort of their home.

The courses have recently been made available free of charge to anyone aged 16 or over in Wales, as part of a £1.3m package of mental health service support announced by the Welsh Government.

It offers a 12 week programme of support for people experiencing mild to moderate anxiety, depression or stress, using proven methods like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

SilverCloud is backed up and supported by a team of psychologists and online cognitive behavioural therapy co-ordinators.

BCUHB’s partnership with Tan y Maen will enable people to be assessed to see if SilverCloud is the right tool for them, and given help to access the courses and other mental health related apps.

Dr Alberto Salmoiraghi, Medical Director for Mental Health and Learning Disabilities services at BCUHB, said:

“SilverCloud can deliver real benefits for people across the region who are struggling with mild to moderate mental health problems and need additional support, but don’t meet the criteria for our more specialist mental health services.

“While this won’t be the most appropriate platform for everyone, thanks to our partnership with Tan y Maen, people can be assessed for their suitability for SilverCloud and other mental health apps, and receive ongoing support to access them. This could be particularly helpful to people who may struggle to get online or navigate the various courses available.

“The introduction of SIlverCloud is timely and very welcome, with demand for mental health services expected to increase significantly due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

BCUHB’s partnership with Tan y Maen is part of a £2.75m annual investment with over 30 different third sector organisations, who help to deliver counselling, group therapies, cognitive behavioural therapies and other therapeutic activities across North Wales.

Phil Griffiths, Chief Officer at Tan y Maen said:

“We have been using App based support for almost a year now and have already found that it has some significant advantages over traditional delivery methods, especially the ability to provide early interventions and identify deteriorating mental health. It’s like having a therapist in your pocket. 

“Some people who find it hard to attend a face to face appointment, where travel  or  family or working arrangements make it difficult prefer to be able to get support by App rather than miss out on any help. SilverCloud is a major addition to this and will enable people to choose the support they prefer and get expert feedback to assist in their recovery.”

For more information on SilverCloud please visit https://bcuhb.nhs.wales/health-advice/silvercloud-free-online-mental-health-therapy/