Like the rest of the country, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly are experiencing their third period of lockdown. This time it’s winter, with less hours of daylight and colder temperatures which can make it harder to get outside to exercise. All these factors affect our mental wellbeing.
Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CFT) has teamed up SilverCloud, the world’s leading digital mental health company, to provide instant online access to 12 different wellbeing programmes including one to help people manage their mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The easy-to-use courses are proven to have a significant long-term impact on recovery from depression and anxiety, two of the most common mental health problems which are also worsened by the pandemic.
Dr Ellen Wilkinson, chief clinical information officer at CFT said: “SilverCloud programmes, which are easily accessed from a computer, smart phone or tablet, provide people with practical tools and tips on how to identify and manage issues with stress, low mood and worry. They help people learn ways to deal with difficult thoughts and emotions which are sometimes even more prominent during these challenging times. After all, these are completely normal reactions to a set of very unorthodox circumstances.”
The trust has secured 12 different SilverCloud courses. These are available on its website and include modules on anxiety, depression, covid-19, mindfulness, sleep, money worries and stress. There are also courses which address the mental health impacts of living with long-term physical health conditions like diabetes and chronic pain.
The self-guided learning includes interactive tools, activities and videos. It offers 24/7 access to clinically proven programmes based on cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
Laura Mitchell from St Austell was suffering from health anxiety before she was referred to NHS talking therapy service, Outlook South West part of CFT. As part of her recovery, she worked through a SilverCloud course.
“I was at a point where I was constantly over-worrying about my own health and that of my husband and my parents too. The anxiety got so much that the physical symptoms from it, including panic attacks, just fuelled my health anxieties further. It was a vicious cycle. I was exhausted from it, but I just thought everyone felt and thought that way.
“The SilverCloud programme helped me learn about what was going on. I realised it was not the way everyone felt. That I didn’t have to live like that. The online videos and personal stories from others with the same thing were so useful in helping me cope. It gave me little tasks and the fact I would have to write things down really helped me focus my thoughts. To this day I still revisit some of the things I wrote down from it. I liked how you could work through it at your own pace with no time pressures. I could just dip into it when I could fit it around my life with a young child to care for. It was a crucial part of my journey to recovery.”
The courses are available on the CFT website and registering is a quick and easy process. Programmes have proven popular since they went live on the site at the end of last year.
Dr Wilkinson added: “We put the programmes on our website towards the end of 2020 and SilverCloud inform us that we’ve already had over 200 people sign-up to programmes via our page. There’s no GP referral needed. You just go to our site, choose the course you wish to complete, create a user name and password so no-one can access any of your details, and that’s it - you are off and running.”
Sign up to the free online programmes or search “Cornwall SilverCloud” in your search engine.
Anyone in crisis with their mental health, should contact their GP or phone the Cornwall Mental Health Response Line on 0800 083 5300. This line is operational 24/7.