‘There is no cheap fix’: Online mental health services must not become the ‘new normal’ (Sky News)
Online therapy cannot be seen as an easy answer to fixing growing pressures on mental health services, charity Mind says. Almost a quarter of people using NHS mental health services remotely said their mental health deteriorated as a result.
Mental health charity Mind surveyed almost 2,000 people about their experiences of accessing mental health treatment via phone or online during the pandemic.
Some 35% said they found the service difficult to use and 23% said their mental health actually got worse as a result of the support they were offered.
Almost two in three said they would have preferred face-to-face support, 10% pointed to technological problems with accessing the support offered, and 34% said they were often or always worried about confidentiality.
Those surveyed said there were some positive aspects of the remote care, however: two in three liked not having to travel, 47% were grateful for the flexibility on appointment times, and 40% said waiting times were shorter.
Mind said the government and NHS need to offer a range of treatments for mental health as the UK moves out of lockdown.
Leila Reyburn, the charity’s policy and campaigns manager, said although services “quickly adapted” and offering help remotely was a “lifeline for many”, it must not become the “new normal”.