More than 1,000 depression and anxiety therapy sessions carried out online in Bedfordshire

Mental health charity says its vital people are given a choice in how to access services

Friday, 26th March 2021, 4:15 pm

More than 1,000 therapy sessions for depression and anxiety are carried out online by mental health patients in Bedfordshire.

NHS Digital figures show that NHS Bedfordshire CCG held 1,075 video appointments in December.

Mental health charity Mind warned that while some people may prefer remote appointments, they may be a source of anxiety for others.

NHS Digital figures show that NHS Bedfordshire CCG held 1,075 video appointments in December
NHS Digital figures show that NHS Bedfordshire CCG held 1,075 video appointments in December

While phone appointments were the single most popular medium used to hold talking therapies with 1,905 appointments during the period, patients were also able to access support via email or messaging services 230 times.

There were also 55 face-to-face appointments recorded in December.

The recording of online appointments data has recently been introduced and some health organisations may be underreporting them.

Leila Reyburn, policy and campaigns manager at Mind, said: “For some people, accessing therapy digitally is preferable, because they don’t have to travel to appointments or prefer to access support from the comfort of their own home rather than a clinical setting, for example.

“But for others, remote appointments can themselves be a source of anxiety, especially if we’re not used to talking to people over video or phone.

“We might also be worried about sharing personal and confidential information relating to our mental health, particularly if we live in a small space with other people and are worried about being overheard.

“We’ve also heard from many people who say that they find it more difficult to build up a trusting relationship with a therapist over phone or online than face-to-face.”

She added that it was important people were given a choice in how to access services.

During the pandemic, Mind secured a commitment from the Government that mental health services continued to deliver face-to-face support, especially for those with severe mental illness.

Across England, 14,000 appointments were held face-to-face in December, while there were 76,400 video appointments and 37,700 internet enabled therapy sessions.

A spokesman for the NHS said: “The NHS has been open to people with concerns about their mental health throughout the pandemic, including through talking therapy sessions which the public can self-refer onto for both face-to-face and online sessions.

“Referrals have been rapidly increasing recently and anyone who needs help should come forward for NHS support.”