Further digital access to quality psychological help has now been launched by NHS Lanarkshire

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Help given digitally for those struggling with mental health problems during lockdown has been taken to another level as potentially lifesaving new course was launched last week.

NHS Lanarkshire’s Psychological Services is aiming the “Calm Distress’ therapy programme squarely at those 16 and over who are registered with a GP in the authority.

The course aims to boost wellbeing – and is the next step in the development of NHS Lanarkshire’s pioneering website Lanarkshire Mind Matters, which has provided support during Covid-19.

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The Covid-19 pandemic means NHS staff are unable to run classes or groups in the community like they used to. Calm Distress addresses this by bringing stress-beating strategies directly to people’s computers, tablets or mobile phones.

Clinical Psychologist Dr Alison McCusker, who led the development of Calm Distress, explained: “The idea is simple: to provide high-quality, evidence-based therapeutic ideas in a way that anyone with an internet connection can access. The course is made up of pre-recorded videos, plus downloadable material.

“Over five friendly sessions, Calm Distress will guide people through ways by which they can open up to day-to-day stress, recognise their warning signs, and learn new ways to cope.

“Each Calm Distress video is about 20 minutes long, giving you lots of useful information in the time it takes to drink a cup of tea.

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“You can watch the videos in any order you like, depending on what you want to focus on – for example difficult thoughts or feelings – and you can keep going back to them any time.

“There are also booklets to go alongside the videos, which you can download and dip into if you like.”

Dr Gary Tanner, Director of Psychological Services at NHS Lanarkshire, said: “We want to make it as easy as possible for people to access help that they can put into practice straight away. Calm Distress will be of potential benefit to thousands of people, both now and in future.”

It is accessed by self-referral via the ‘How we can help you’ pages of the Lanarkshire Mind Matters website: https://www.lanarkshiremindmatters.scot.nhs.uk/calm-distress-online-course-overview/.

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