Residents in Cornwall are set to benefit from a new digital mental health network that will allow people to anonymously connect with other users 24-hours a day, 365 days a year.
The service is for anyone aged 16 or over and enables people to create accounts with just an email address and a postcode, enabling them access to professionally supervised mental health care via a safe online space.
The launch comes as Cornwall continues to see demand for mental health services rise with the region’s 24/7 crisis phoneline seeing three times as many calls this Christmas compared to the same time the previous year. The rise is reflected in the national statistics too with crisis mental health services seeing demand rise by a third since the pandemic and by 100% since 2017.
Consultant Psychiatrist at Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Dr Jeremy Sandbrook, said: “It’s part of a wider strategy to transform how mental health services are delivered across the county in the coming years. This latest offer is simply an extra resource on top of the other forms of help and support that are provided by the NHS and our excellent voluntary and community sector.
“Use of digital or remote care rapidly expanded during the pandemic. It’s not something that will replace face-to-face support and nor should it, but digital solutions do play an important role in helping to increase access and choice.
“Also, we know how important it is to address the isolation some people find themselves in. The more people feel connected with others who can understand and empathise with what they are going through, the likelihood of them deteriorating and needing more complex, specialist interventions is reduced. The power of people helping each other by sharing their thoughts, feelings, stories, and encouragement should never be underestimated.”
The service being rolled out in Cornwall is also used in academia at Sheffield Hallam University and in the public sector by the Ministry of Defence. NHS Cornwall say the service is “clinically proven to help those who are struggling with stress, isolation, anxiety, depression, and other common mental health issues.”
For more information on the service, click here.