NICE approves Healios’ CBT service for treating children, young people with anxiety disorders

Healios, a pioneering digital healthcare company, has received endorsement from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in its approach to treat anxiety disorders in children and young people with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

The endorsement from world renowned organisation NICE, England’s government clinical watchdog, further validates the evidence based, life-changing work driven by Healios to increase access to high quality mental health treatment for children, young people and their families. This is the second NICE endorsement for Healios, who last year received the globally respected stamp of approval for their work within the area of severe mental illness for adults with psychosis and schizophrenia.

Lifetime rates suggest approximately 1 in 10 children and young people experience a clinically significant anxiety disorder by the age of 16. It has been well established that young people with anxiety disorders are at greater risk of developing other mental illnesses such as eating disorders, depression, personality disorders, psychosis and schizophrenia. It is therefore critical to ensure children and young people with an anxiety disorder can access high quality, clinically effective treatments as soon as possible to reduce immediate distress as well as prevent further mental health challenges in young adulthood.

The endorsement comes as NHS England prepare to roll out new targets for access and waiting times to Child and Adolescent Mental Health services and follows a pledge by the UK Government to invest millions in improving mental health services for children and young people.

Carolyn Gavin, Head of Operations and Specialist Family Services at South Staffordshire and Shropshire NHS Foundation Trust said:

This is really positive news for Healios and the families using the service. By partnering with Healios to support our existing mental health care provision, we are transforming how services are provided for children and young people, including their family, in a way which is more convenient and fits around their needs and lifestyle. The endorsement from NICE provides the assurances for NHS Trusts and CCG’s when commissioning partners to deliver high quality care in a more innovative way

Dr Lars Hansen, Consultant Psychiatrist and Chief Medical Officer at Healios, said:

We are delighted to receive this second endorsement from NICE which is the ultimate seal of approval and further supports our evidence-based work in the crucial area of children and young people’s mental health. Supporting NHS Trusts in the delivery of cost-effective and easily accessible treatment, at the right time and place, is paramount to successfully addressing a growing demand on NHS services. As our approach is likely to have a preventative effect on children and young people developing further anxiety disorders and other mental illnesses later in life, we are ensuring with faster treatment they have the best chance to enjoy life to the full, and at the same time, the potential to bring long-term cost savings to the NHS.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a form of psychological therapy and is well evidenced for reducing anxiety in children and young people. CBT is recommended on national clinical guidelines for the treatment of anxiety disorders as well as other mental illnesses such as depression. Prior to the establishment of Healios, families often had to travel to a clinician for CBT therapy, managing differing schedules, increasing stress and often resulting in conflicts with other daily responsibilities such as work, childcare, school etc. Healios brings the entire family together – even those that are based far away, such as university - for a unique online interactive CBT experience, accessible anywhere with an internet connection.

Children and young people spend on average 27 hours a week online, making Healios not only a natural fit, but a necessity, ensuring maximum engagement to create the best possible outcomes.

Healios’ service is being commissioned by NHS Trusts/CCG’s across the country supporting local transformation plans. This follows the increased priority placed on mental health through such measures as the Parity of Esteem, Early Intervention in Psychosis Access and Waiting Time Standards and the NHS England’s ‘The Five Year Forward View for mental health’. These measures focus on how to design services that increase access, choice and convenience to evidence-based interventions in a sustainable way, in an environment where demand is growing and pressure mounts to resolve the £2bn budget deficit.

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