People with long term conditions who may be feeling stressed or anxious can now self-refer to an online mental health support site.
Previously the service was only available to people with general mental health problems via a GP referral.
In a pilot scheme, the NHS Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is now able to offer 250 places on to SilverCloud for people with long-term conditions and they can either follow steps to register online themselves, or speak to their GP and be referred on to the service.
A further 500 places are available for people with mental health problems to self-refer on to the site.
SilverCloud, which has been available to people on the island since 2015, has now been extended to support people who may be feeling low following a diagnosis of a long-term condition such as diabetes or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
The online platform, which is endorsed by NHS Digital, provides a range of techniques, such as mindfulness, to help reduce anxiety and stress. It has up to eight modules that can help with assertiveness, problem solving, self-esteem, communication and stress management. You can also keep an online journal to track your mood.
Once you have signed up, a patient can access the service for 12 months. They can go through the online workshops at their own pace and can also repeat modules if they need too.
Sue Lightfoot, head of commissioning for mental health at the CCG, said: “We know there is plenty of support available to help with the physical side of managing a long-term condition – this could be via medicines, or adjustments to your home, to also being able to attend lifestyle classes.”
“However often we can overlook the impact a long-term condition diagnosis can have on our mental health and wellbeing – and addressing this is just as important as the physical side.”
“For many people there is a major adjustment needed in their lives to factor in the diagnosis – such as increase in the number of tablets taken each day, an increase of medical appointments to attend and perhaps getting used to using equipment such as crutches or a wheelchair.”
“By accessing support online you can go at your own pace, choose modules that help target your mood, and teach you skills to manage your mood.
“Of course if you’re still feeling unsure then you can see a GP for further mental health support.”
To find out more or to sign up visit https://iow.silvercloudhealth.com/signup/