Anxiety UK, the UK’s leading anxiety, stress and anxiety-based depression charity, has partnered with videoDoc, online doctor service and digital health technology providers, to develop an online therapy platform available on web and mobile app to amplify the digital reach of the charity’s network of registered UK therapists.
The new service will boost the charity’s availability to those living with anxiety, stress and anxiety-based depression with an initial 480 hours of online therapy appointments per week, reducing existing waiting times from two weeks to just three days in its initial launch phase and less within the coming months as the service further expands.
Digital Online Therapy Service (DOTS) is now available to both registered Anxiety UK members as an additional service to its existing face-to-face sessions as well as non-members.
The charity has launched the service as a way to provide more immediate access to those living with anxiety who want to access support faster than more traditional routes, or people who have difficulty accessing face to face appointments due to mobility or time constraints.
DOTS is also hoped to improve access for those living with anxiety conditions who may be reluctant to seek help in a traditional setting due to conditions such as social anxiety disorder.
Currently, over 6 million people in the UK are diagnosed as having work-related stress, anxiety, or depression. Yet, recent statistics from the NHS indicate that as few as 37% of adults actually access mental health treatment.
The launch comes amid rising NHS support for and exploration of online mental health solutions, as part of its Increased Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme.
Speaking at the launch of the service in Manchester, Professor Mark Radford, Director of Nursing (Improvement), NHS Improvement, said: ‘The NHS is fully supportive of any effort which helps to increase adoption of digital online therapies that offer wider choice improved access. We applaud the staff of Anxiety UK for their continued commitment to helps those affected by anxiety, stress and anxiety-based depression and for their foresight to engage with patients in a way which better accommodates their treatment options.’
Nicky Lidbetter, Chief Executive, Anxiety UK added: ‘We are truly excited to launch this innovative additional Digital Online Therapy Service (DOTS) which will provide more choice and treatment options not just to our members but anyone seeking support for their anxiety,
stress or anxiety-based depression.
‘The service will also broaden the reach of our Anxiety UK Approved Therapist network to include people who urgently need to reach out and speak to someone but cannot wait for weeks or perhaps even months for an appointment.
‘This will help increase the number of people living with anxiety conditions to engage with therapeutic care in a way which works with their own particular constraints, whether those are practical or caused by the challenges they face with their condition.’
Mary O’Brien, CEO, videoDoc concluded: ‘We are extremely proud to have supported Anxiety UK with the launch of their online therapy service. With DOTS, Anxiety UK is providing a wider choice for how its members interact with their recovery process. We find that time and time again, issues such as mobility and time resources are some of the biggest barriers preventing people from accessing treatment. Also, for people suffering with social anxiety disorders, engaging with a therapist in a conventional setting can prove extremely challenging. By offering services online you circumvent all of the above, allowing people to tailor their treatments around their lives, rather than the other way around.’
‘It empowers the end-user, allowing them to decide how and when they engage with therapy.’ she added.
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