The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended four digital technologies designed to children and young people manage symptoms of anxiety and low mood for use within the NHS.
The technologies recommended by an independent NICE committee are:
- Lumi Nova (BfB labs)
- Online Social anxiety Cognitive therapy for Adolescents (OSCA)
- Online Support and Intervention for child anxiety (OSI)
- Space from anxiety for teens, space from low mood for teens and space from low mood and anxiety for teens (Silvercloud)
The self-guided technology products are based on cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) principles and provide a range of games, videos and quizzes to help children and young people learn techniques to manage and understand symptoms of anxiety and low mood. They are designed for users aged five to 18 as an initial treatment option, whilst further evidence is being generated.
Local NHS organisations will be able to determine how they wish to commission these treatment options once they have received Digital Technology Assessment Criteria (DTAC) approval by NHS England.
It is hoped that the digital CBT technologies, which can be delivered via mobile phones, tablets or computers via remote access, may appeal to children and young people who are typically regular users of such devices. NICE also note that the digital solution offers “greater privacy, increased convenience and increased capacity”.
Mark Chapman, interim director of medical technology and digital evaluation at NICE, stated: “Patient experts told our committee that mental health services are in high demand, access varies widely across the country, and there is an unmet need when it comes to receiving treatment while on waiting lists to see specialists. These four technologies offer low risk options to children and young people who need to begin treatment as soon as possible.”
Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay added: “These four technologies, using games, videos and quizzes, represent a promising step forward for new treatment options for children and young people, with early evidence showing they could help improve symptoms of anxiety or low mood.
“It is incredibly important children and young people can access mental health services when they need it, and these new guided self-help tools will allow those between 5 and 18 to learn techniques for support when they are available in future. This builds upon work already in place with nearly 300 mental health support teams in place in around 4,700 schools and colleges across the country.”