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Medical body NICE backs online mental health treatments


The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended eight online therapies for anxiety and depression.

NICE says the therapies have the potential to help more than 40,000 people in the UK.

Each therapy must come with a formal assessment from an NHS therapist in order for it to be recommended.

According to NHS Digital, there is a six-week waiting list for patients who need mental health support in England. There are hopes that introducing online digital therapies could ease pressure on the NHS.

The treatments can help those with depression, anxiety, PTSD and body dysmorphia and are centred on the use of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) - a talking therapy which can help a patient manage their problems by suggesting alterations to their thought process and behaviour.

The therapies have been conditionally recommended by NICE - meaning early assessments have taken place to identify promising medical technology but more evidence needs to be gathered.

However, Professor Dame Til Wykes, of the School of Mental Health and Psychological Sciences at London's King's College, cautioned "we don't know enough" about the effectiveness of online therapies and whether the therapies will offer sufficient support for mental health patients.

Her view was echoed by mental health charity Mind, with content manager Jessica D'Cruz asserting "the majority" of people needing support "will struggle to benefit from this".

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Source: BBC News, 1 March 2023

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