People living in the Western Isles are as likely to need support for anxiety, depression, long term health worries, loneliness or sleep difficulties as anybody anywhere else.

NHS Western Isles, supported by NHS Scotland, is committed to making effective help accessible to people across the islands. 

The mPower team will be connecting and supporting people to use digital access to online modules and services which are helping many people across Scotland already.  Most are based on the principle that many difficulties can be helped by considering how thoughts, feelings and behaviours are interlinked and can be gradually changed.  The mPower Team will be supported by Clinical Psychology to try and ensure the right people receive the right help.

How do you access the digital support tools?

We can help you with this.  To access the digital support tools you will need to have access to a laptop, tablet, PC or smartphone, depending on the digital tool being used.  You will also need access to internet, and a unique username or code.  You can obtain access codes from the NHS mPower Community Navigator team by requesting further information from This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  One of our Navigators will then be in touch to arrange an appointment by phone.  The Navigator will be able to ensure you are set up for the right digital support tool and will arrange with you to keep in touch by phone to help you as you progress with the digital support programmes. Further information on Western Isles mPower team can be found at https://western-isles.mpowerhealth.eu/​

Which Digital Wellbeing Tools are currently available?

Many people are only offered medication when they ask for help with sleep, but this is not the best long term solution. Sleepio is an online sleep improvement programme based on cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) which is clinically tested and accredited in the UK by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).  It works by helping you to make a few changes to help fall asleep, stay asleep and feel energised through the day, learn to regain control of your sleep and address the root of stubborn sleep issues without medication.  Participants complete 6 practical personalised sessions to help improve sleeping patterns naturally. This may reduce or avoid the need for sleeping pills (any changes to medication would only be done in discussion with a patient’s GP). Those signing up for Sleepio in the Western Isles will have access to the online app for an initial period of 6 weeks to complete the programme and thereafter for up to a year.  The Sleepio app uses daily sleep diaries and weekly 20-30 minute tailored sleep guide sessions based on personalised sleep scores and CBT techniques.  You will have access to weekly community chats with sleep experts where you may discuss any sleep-related questions with psychologists in the sleep field and also speak with others suffering poor sleep and users who have completed the programme.  Further information on the online Sleepio App is available at their website-

https://go.bighealth.com/sleepio_nhs

 

SilverCloud provides access to a number of online mental wellbeing programmes, based on CBT techniques that help people to overcome common mental health problems.  Following an initial assessment you will be set up with access to appropriate modules which can help with anxiety, sleep, stress, grief and other challenging and distressing emotions and situations.  The programme includes modules to help with managing the psychological side of challenging long term conditions such as COPD, diabetes and chronic pain.  The programmes guide you through a range of coping techniques including mindfulness, relaxation and other strategies for managing distress. Use of these programmes is overseen by a Community Navigator who monitors and reviews your progress, and  provides feedback, guidance and encouragement, via regular written and/or phone reviews. Programmes can also be used in self-help / unsupported mode.

 

Beating the Blues is an online CBT based learning programme for coping with depression and anxiety which is available through GP referral. Beating the Blues has 8 sessions which each last about 50 minutes which will teach you to think differently about yourself and the things that happen to you. It also gives you some ‘doing techniques’ which help you manage aspects of your life better.   Users of the programme will be directed by their GP to Community Navigators who will assist with setting people up on the system and providing encouragement and assessments on progress. Further information is available at https://www.beatingtheblues.co.uk/what-it-is/#beatingblues​​

 

iESO offers a series of appointments for cognitive behaviour therapy delivered by therapists communicating through online messaging . This means fewer problems with VC connection and also allows people to keep a copy of their own sessions to look through and remind themselves what was discussed and what plans they have made for change.  The programme offers help with a range of mental health difficulties including anxiety, stress, depression, PTSD, OCD, social anxiety and phobias. People may sign up themselves via the iESO website and they will receive an assessment and decision about whether therapy can be offered. Further information is available at https://www.iesohealth.com/en-gb/

KOMP Plus is an easy to use device that can help people stay connected to family and health professionals.  It can both reduce loneliness of users and assist them in keeping in touch with their care professionals.  The Western Isles, via its mPower project, has obtained a number of these devices to uset with people facing particular challenges of rural and social isolation, which may be worsened during the current coronavirus pandemic.  It is particularly useful for people with visual or hearing impairments, cognitive or learning difficulties or those who simply struggle to use new technology. Via the simple KOMP device, users can send and receive messages, photos or video calls as well as access information such as weather forecasts, with no complex technology setup or configuration needed. The device enables a user’s family to link directly to a screen via an App, adding photographs, and enabling direct video calls.  KOMP Plus can also enable health professionals to connect to issue medication reminders or hold a video call if necessary.  For further information visit https://www.noisolation.com/uk/komp/what-is-komp/

New research into digital wellbeing tools

NHS Western Isles is committed to ensuring services are effective and useful to the public.  We are also working in partnership with a range of academic, healthcare and commercial organisations to develop and test a number of other innovative technologies for supporting people with their mental wellbeing.    Those currently in development at various stages are explained below, and further information is available from the project lead This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

ChatPal - Digital Wellbeing Chatbots:   NHS Western Isles is a partner in the Northern Periphery & Arctic INTERREG Project, ChatPal, to develop and test chatbot technologies to support and promote mental health and wellbeing.  The key aim is to create and pilot with local mental health groups a chatbot service that is effective for providing a blended digital and face to face mental wellbeing service supporting mental health workers and skills coaches across different age groups and so improving access to mental wellbeing support in remote and rural areas.   A prototype ChatPal chatbot is to be released as part of response to Covid-19 providing positive psychological support to people and will be available soon via the NHS Community Navigator service.

The project is led by Ulster University with partners in Sweden, Finland and Ireland.  NHS Western Isles will be working with local stakeholders WIAMH, Penumbra and Foyer to develop such new services to best meet local needs.  For more information visit: http://chatpal.interreg-npa.eu/

 


IT4Anxiety Project: NHS Western Isles are partners in a new four year project funded under North West Europe INTERREG programme led by St. Martin Neuropsychiatry Centre in Belgium with partners in Brittany, France, Netherlands and Germany.  The project will focus on the creation and implementation of innovative technology solutions intended to reduce the anxiety of people suffering from neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer‘s disease.  The project will begin developing such technological solutions with key groups in Western Isles before testing these alongside conventional approaches as "blended therapies".  

Some examples are provided below:

  • Live Out is a French company developing easy-to-use virtual reality solutions for entertainment and social uses of residents of care homes.
  • Eldom is a company which has developed a Photoluminescence device that helps people reduce their experience of ‘night anxiety’
  • Brainscan BV is a Dutch company which is developing a tool capable of diagnosing depression and anxiety disorders via biological markers as an aid to clinical diagnosis.

For more information visit: https://www.nweurope.eu/projects/project-search/it4anxiety-managing-anxiety-via-innovative-technologies-for-better-mental-health/#tab-1