Online therapy helps people beat depression more quickly
Many of the practitioners in our directory offer online therapy
Counselling by computer can cut NHS waiting times by a quarter. New research reveals that an hour a day of online therapy has a huge impact on depressed patients.
A study by London's The City University found that more than three in five people can stop treatment after eight sessions. This allows doctors to discharge patients more quickly and reduce the need for drugs.
Computer counselling uses cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to help patients develop a more positive outlook on life.
Programmes such as Beat the Blues challenge negative thinking through a special psychological self-help course. With conventional therapy, patients have to be face-to-face with a psychiatrist or counsellor.
Online therapy allows those with mild mental health problems to manage their own treatment either at a referral centre or at home.
Doctors can already prescribe the treatment on the NHS. Trials have shown it is as effective as other clinical treatments and can produce faster results.
An estimated six million Britons suffer from depression and anxiety. Only 10 per cent have access to therapy and waiting times can be up to a year.
The Government yesterday unveiled a £170 million boost for mental health services, and Alan Johnson, the Health Secretary, has pledged to roll out psychological therapies in 20 new areas next year.
The City University findings are the most comprehensive evidence yet that psychological treatments are effective in combatting not just depression but also eating disorders, chronic fatigue and mild epilepsy.
The study was based on 555 patients waiting for treatment at an NHS therapy centre in Chelmsford, Essex.
Despina Learmonth, who carried out the study, said: "This research provides compelling evidence that computerised therapy could be of significant value to patients."
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