Irish-based health tech company, SilverCloud Health, has unveiled a new online therapy aimed at those caught up in financial difficulties and mental health challenges.
The Space from Money Worries programme will be available the company's NHS clients, which currently cover about 60 per cent of NHS mental healthcare trusts, as well as health insurance firms Bupa and Nuffield Health. SilverCloud also plans to offer the programme to financial institutions.
The programme works on a number of fronts, targeting links between finances and mental health, teaching users about avoidance behaviour, and providing them with tools and strategies to help them tackle their financial fears. It will also help tackle issues such as impulse buying.
SilverCloud chief executive Ken Cahill described the programme as groundbreaking. "Given the success we have seen with our mental health programmes, with recovery rates in line with face-to-face therapy, we know that technology can play a vital role in extending and scaling care while improving outcomes on both the mental health and the complex interwoven financial challenges that individuals struggling with debt face," he said.
The programme was developed in collaboration with clinical psychologist Dr Thomas Richardson, who is an expert on the relationship between financial difficulties and mental health problems.
“Financial difficulties and mental health problems are often part of the same problem, but most support options treat them individually, offering debt advice separately from mental health help,” he said.
“So, for example, you might be offered a debt advice appointment but if you are so anxious you can’t face it then it won’t help.
“Space from Money Worries tackles the root psychological mechanisms which lead to the cycle of financial difficulties and poor mental health: the negative thinking patterns which prevent you tackling your debt, the worry and avoidance which stops you seeking financial help, the impulse spending which digs you deeper into a debt cycle.”
SilverCloud Health’s digital platform is a global standard platform providing evidence-based online mental health and behavioural healthcare solutions. Launched in 2012, the company has worked with 200 organisations to support more than 170,000 patients globally.
It recently signed a deal with the HSE for a pilot programme providing digital mental health services to support the self-management of people with bipolar disorder.