Text boost to help tackle depression

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hundreds of patients suffering from depression and anxiety are keeping a daily diary of their moods and receiving reminders about their therapy thanks to new technology.

The service funded by NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group is being offered to patients accessing the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies service in the city. Practising therapist Simon Bennett, who is head of the service, said feedback had been very positive. “Patients are finding it very useful.

“Some people have really engaged with it and found it very valuable in supporting their therapy,” he said.

Every day, usually about 7pm, patients get a text asking “How are you feeling?” or “What have you been doing?” which act as prompts for a reply. They can then reply and over time this builds up into a diary. This is reviewed by the patient and the therapist. The approach can also be used to send reminders about activities agreed for their treatment such as exercise.

GP Steve Thomas, the lead for mental health at the commissioning group, said: “We look forward to seeing the emerging outcomes from its use.”