Log on to ‘switch off’ – 20/11/08

Walsall residents who are feeling worried, stressed or down are being encouraged to ‘switch off’ by turning on their computers.

The Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust is urging people to improve how they feel about themselves by logging onto the internet to use one of two free self-help programmes.

The computer-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) programmes can help people suffering from a range of illnesses, including anxiety, phobias, panic attacks and depression.

Kerry Baggott, clinical nurse specialist for depression and anxiety, said: “CBT is a short-term psychological treatment which is particularly suitable for specific mild to moderate difficulties. It works by enabling people to explore how their thoughts impact on how they feel and behave.

“It is estimated that about 62 per cent of the UK population are now internet users, so these programmes are a great way of reaching people.

“The programmes use educational techniques based on the CBT approach, enabling people to work at their own pace to bring about useful changes.

“They are easy to access and to use. People simply need to register using their name and email address. Those who do not have their own computers can visit their local library, where they can use a computer free of charge.”

To try out the free CBT programmes, visit http://www.livinglifetothefull.com/ or http://www.moodgym.anu.edu.au/

The Walsall Primary Care mental health team is also on hand to support anyone using one of the recommended programmes.

For advice, email ccbtsupport@walsall.nhs.uk or speak directly to a mental health worker by calling (01922) 443749, between 12-2pm, on Thursdays.