New Partnership Announced to Increase Access to Digital Mental Health Supports

HSE Press Release:
Wednesday, 30 November 2022
10,000 mental health referrals during pilot

Today, (30th November 2022), the HSE announced a national partnership with digital mental health platform SilverCloud®. The partnership will help address the growing need for access to mental health support in Ireland.

According to research from Maynooth University and Trinity College earlier this year, 42% of Irish adults have a mental disorder. WHO research also indicates that mental health is one of the greatest social and economic challenges of our time, more pronounced now than before the pandemic.[2]

Through this partnership, clinicians can refer to SilverCloud’s evidence-based digital CBT programmes[1],[2],[3]. Active use of the digital platform in Ireland has doubled since the 12-month review of the pilot in April 2022. The service has seen over 10,000 referrals from Ireland based GPs, Primary Care Psychologists, Counselling in Primary Care and Jigsaw as they identify SilverCloud as a potential solution to support their patients.

Jim Ryan, Assistant National Director, HSE Mental Health Operations said: “Research and recent experience continues to show that people engage well with digital mental health support. Access to an evidence based programme such as SilverCloud, to address anxiety and depression is a really important and helpful addition to the range of supports being provided by the HSE. We have seen some really encouraging results in terms of mental health outcomes from the SilverCloud programme to date.

In line with our national mental health policy, Sharing the Vision, we will continue to invest in these areas to improve access to support and make it easier for GPs, Primary Care Psychologists and other colleagues providing services on behalf of the HSE, such as Jigsaw, to refer people on to another effective support option in a more efficient way.”

Minister for Mental Health, Mary Butler TD said, “The announcement of this partnership with the Health Service Executive and digital mental health platform SilverCloud® for the provision of Guided Digital Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is hugely positive. I am passionate about improving access to and enhancing the reach of mental health services for people who require them. This announcement follows a very successful pilot which has seen the service receive over 10,000 referrals. This national rollout will be a key part of Ireland’s mental health strategy in the years ahead making it easier for people to secure the support they need.”

A new report published by SilverCloud, reviews the first 18-month application of the service in Ireland. 89 per cent of people provided access to SilverCloud felt that digital CBT would work for them and their needs prior to commencing a programme. The overall satisfaction rate of the programme was 94% post-use. Patient engagement with the programmes has seen a broad age range between 18-44 years (76%) and a representation across all 26 counties with Dublin, Cork and Galway leading in account volume.

Ken Cahill, Co-founder of SilverCloud, and Head of Behavioural Health, Amwell said, “On behalf of the entire SilverCloud team, I am excited to see the announcement today of our successful tender award for the provision of Guided Digital Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Services, a testament to the work we have achieved in partnership with the HSE over the past number of years. Our initial rollout of the service in Ireland has proven to measurably reduce the depression and anxiety symptoms of Irish users. It has also dramatically increased access to mental health support to people right across the country, and we are now successfully supporting overburdened staff and services within our health system.”

Further results have shown the effectiveness of digital CBT:

  • 49% of users with clinical levels of depression (excl. severe) transitioned to recovery.
  • 53% of users with clinical levels of anxiety (excl. severe) transitioned to recovery.
  • GPs are the source of the highest number of referrals, representing 89% of the total referrals.
  • On average users spent 4.5 hours on the platform

“Barriers to access can be caused by finances, fear of stigma, or difficulties related to taking the first step to talk to someone. The SilverCloud digital CBT programmes can be accessed confidentially from one's own home, therefore, waitlists for appointments and even location in remote areas of the country are no longer impediments.” - Dr Derek Richards, Chief Science Officer of SilverCloud, Amwell. “Additionally, a large body of research has now accumulated to demonstrate the effectiveness of guided digitally delivered CBT for depression and anxiety[4],[5],[6]. Commensurate with this research, the clinical outcomes and patient satisfaction ratings with the national digital CBT service are notable.”

Learn more at silvercloudhealth.com or silvercloudhealth.com/HSE

HSE also have a range of mental health resources and support available at yourmentalhealth.ie

Last updated on: 30 / 11 / 2022