Praise for online mental-health therapy service in Norfolk

Patients are being helped by an online therapy scheme.

Patients are being helped by an online therapy scheme. - Credit: ©Si Barber - all rights reser

Mental-health chiefs in Norfolk have hailed the initial success of an online therapy service for patients experiencing depression and anxiety.

Norfolk's Wellbeing Service teamed up with Psychology Online earlier this year to offer talking therapies to patients in their home, using the internet.

Officials from Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the wellbeing service, praised the pilot, which has treated more than 150 people through an online chat service since February.

More than half of the people who used the new service opted to access it outside office hours and on average patients only needed six sessions to achieve a recovery, which is lower than would be expected from traditional face-to-face therapy.

The free service offers cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) sessions to patients experiencing mild or moderate mental-health problems.

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Patrick Wymbs, clinical service lead for central Norfolk's Wellbeing Service, said: 'Many people in rural parts of Norfolk find it difficult to get to appointments.

'Additionally, if you are working or have young children, taking time out during the busy day can be awkward.

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'The internet is an integral part of people's lives and we believe that offering online therapy is an important part of the future.

'With PsychologyOnline, no one else needs to know that the client is having therapy so it overcomes the embarrassment that some people still experience with mental health.'

One in 10 patients using the service was over 55 years old.

Kate Tilbury, therapist team leader at the Cambridge-based PsychologyOnline, added that once a person chooses the online service they are given consistent care with the same therapist.

The Wellbeing Service is free and open to anyone aged 16 years and over in Norfolk and Waveney. People can be referred by their GP or can self-refer online by visiting or telephoning 0300 123 1503.

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