A recently introduced online programme will make mental health supports more accessible for people suffering with depression and anxiety in the community, Dublin Mid-West’s TD has said. Deputy Emer Higgin’s has welcomed the online programme created by SilverCloud together with the HSE, which will offer free online support courses to those referred by a GP, a primary care psychologists, the national counselling service or Jigsaw mental health charity.
“Getting support is the first step in learning how to manage mental health challenges but one-to-one or face-to-face services are not always accessible for people and finding the time and money can be a real barrier,” said Deputy Higgins. “So I think this new programme, being offered free-of-charge by SilverCloud and the HSE, is so innovative because it allows professionals to provide their patients with access to an 8-week supported programme for mental health within 24hrs of referral.
“The online courses remove the financial barrier and allow individuals to take things at their own pace while being guided by an assigned clinical supporter to keep them on track,” said Deputy Higgins. “Online supports like this are clinically proven with SilverCloud reporting that up to 80% of users show improvement in depression and anxiety symptoms so I would really encourage anyone who thinks these courses would be for them to seek a referral from their GP or other mental health care provider.
Clondalkin Cllr. Kenneth Egan is a qualified psychotherapist and has seen first-hand the role that online resources and counselling can play in supporting people’s mental health management in the community. Cllr. Egan said, “I know it can be difficult to take that first step and look for help when you’re struggling with your mental health, but I think online resources like this can be really beneficial and help people begin to work on their anxiety or depression at their own pace.
“This approach wouldn’t be appropriate for anyone with severe mental health symptoms such as psychosis, or thoughts of suicide but it can be very helpful for people with moderate to mild symptoms and I think it’s great that it is being offered free of charge,” concluded Cllr. Egan.