A new online therapy platform for people with anxiety has been launched through a partnership between charity Anxiety UK and the online doctor service videoDoc.
The new Digital Online Therapy Service (Dots) consists of a web platform and mobile app to help increase the reach of Anxiety UK’s registered therapists. It’s available to both registered Anxiety UK members as an additional service to face-to-face sessions as well as non-members.
Anxiety UK hopes that the service helps provide more immediate access to support for people living with anxiety. Initially, the service will launch with 480 hours of online therapy appointments per week, potentially reducing existing waiting times from two weeks to just three days.
It’s also hoped that those reluctant to seek help in traditional settings, due to social anxieties and similar conditions, will be willing to use Dots to receive support.
In the UK, over six million people are diagnosed as having work related stress, anxiety or depression, however data show that only 37% of adults actually access mental health treatment.
Nicky Lidbetter, chief executive, Anxiety UK said: “We are proud to launch this innovative Digital Online Therapy Service (DOTS) which will provide more choice and treatment options not just to our members but anyone seeking help with their anxiety, stress or anxiety-based depression. Dots will broaden the reach of our well-established Anxiety UK Approved Therapist network to include support for those who cannot/do not wish to incur any significant waiting time.”
At the launch of the service in Manchester, professor Mark Radford, director of Nursing (Improvement), NHS Improvement, said: “We have a collective commitment to help those affected by anxiety, stress and anxiety-based depression and recognise the toll these health issues can take on the population. NHS Improvement is supportive of any effort which helps to increase adoption of digital online therapies, within the context of offering improved choice and improved access for patients.”
Mary O’Brien, CEO, videoDoc added: “We are extremely proud to have supported Anxiety UK with the launch of their online therapy service. With DOTS, Anxiety UK is providing a wider choice for how its members interact with their recovery process. We find that time and time again, issues such as mobility and time resources are some of the biggest barriers preventing people from accessing treatment. Also, for people suffering with social anxiety disorders, engaging with a therapist in a conventional setting can prove extremely challenging. By offering services online you circumvent all of the above, allowing people to tailor their treatments around their lives, rather than the other way around. It empowers the end-user, allowing them to decide how and when they engage with therapy.”