Coronavirus (COVID-19): mental health - transition and recovery plan

This plan outlines our response to the mental health impacts of COVID-19. It addresses the challenges that the pandemic has had, and will continue to have, on the population’s mental health.

15. Digital Innovations

Digital Therapy is now an integral part of service delivery across Scotland and is uniquely placed to deliver evidence-based therapy to all NHS staff, and to the wider population in Scotland. The value of digital therapy during our Covid-19 response has been clear, and has enabled services to continue in spite of physical restrictions. We also know that this has been a positive development in providing mental health support to those in rural communities.

However, we also recognise that a number of people across Scotland do not have access to digital services or are uncomfortable using them in a mental health context. We need to ensure that a focus on digital services does not disadvantage those who cannot or do not wish to use them, or those who would prefer a blended approach. To help us strike this balance, we will build on existing examples of good practice, and particularly the Connecting Scotland programme, which are designed to help vulnerable people access support online.

  • 15.1 - Computerised Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. In partnership with NHS Boards, we will expand the current Computerised Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (cCBT) service provision. We will do this by increasing treatment choice through the introduction of a new cCBT platform. This will be done through a rapid implementation programme, which will be deployed at scale by the end of October 2020. Together with the development of internet-enabled CBT (ieCBT), these services will support at a minimum a further 10,000 people – with the potential to support 30,000 people – to access therapy.
  • 15.2 - Video Enabled Therapy. We will embed and develop video enabled therapy and additional remote technologies (such as Near Me) to support the ongoing delivery of one-to-one and group therapy clinical services.
  • 15.3 - Rural Communities. We will support efforts by NHS Boards to promote the use of digital services, in particular to maximise the benefits for rural communities
  • 15.4 - Digital Inclusion. We will build on wider efforts to promote digital inclusion, including with the Connecting Scotland programme which is set up in response to coronavirus to develop digital skills for people who are digitally excluded and on low incomes.
  • 15.5 - NHS Inform. We are working with NHS 24 to continue to develop and publish online self-help materials and resources onto NHS Inform. These will cover a range of topics prioritised around the needs the population.
  • 15.6 - Evaluation. With external partners, we will explore a nationally coordinated approach to the ongoing evaluation of digital mental health services. This will be used to develop a greater understanding of the impact of digital services while providing insights around service improvement and application of appropriate technologies within mental health. This work will also consider the reasons why people may choose not to use digital technology.
  • 15.7 - Innovation Hubs. Working with the Digital Health and Care Institute, CivTech and other innovation partners, we will explore the use of an innovation hub model to encourage the development and evaluation of technologies focused on the identified needs of the population. Innovation Hubs help support individuals, organisations and commercial companies to work together and develop innovative digital solutions while being guided by expertise within mental health field.



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