NICE recommends more digital mental health therapies for NHS use

pharmafile | March 1, 2023 | News story | Medical Communications  

Eight more digital therapies (DTx) for mental health disorders have been recommended by NICE for use by the NHS, following a push from the health technology assessment (HTA) agency to utilise treatment options which can relieve pressure on the health service.

With one in six people experiencing common mental health problems, including anxiety or depression, the burden on the NHS is huge, so new treatments to reduce this burden and alleviate symptoms for the patients can only be a positive step.

The eight new DTx have the potential to help up to 40,000 patients, according to NICE, covering conditions including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and body dysmorphia.

The new therapies draw on cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) techniques, and have now received conditional backing from NICE until further evidence around their use can be compiled.

The tools can only be used by patients following a formal assessment by an NHS talking therapist.

Mike Chapman, interim director of medical technology and digital evaluation at NICE, suggested that the DTx have “demonstrated […] the potential to provide effective treatments to the many thousands of people who live with these conditions.”

Elizabeth Mullenger, a lay specialist member of NICE’s appraisal committees, commented: “It can be incredibly isolating to be on a long waiting list for in-person treatment. You might know that help is coming, you just don’t know when. […] Having access to a digital therapy could help prevent this lonely feeling. Sometimes, people need support most in the middle of the night, or after a busy day at work, and its hard to know where to turn. Having access to digital therapy can give people the help they need, when they need it.”


Betsy Goodfellow

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