NHS Scotland provides access to digital therapeutics for anxiety and insomnia

Adults in Scotland can now access Big Health’s digital therapeutics for anxiety and insomnia for free via the NHS.

People across all 14 NHS Scotland health board areas are able to self-refer or visit their GP to receive cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) through the Daylight and Sleepio apps.
  
In October last year, the Scottish Government made the Big Health apps available across five NHS health board areas. 

Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) found that 71% of patients who used Daylight achieved remission from anxiety and 76% of patients who used Sleepio achieved clinically significant sleep improvements.

Big Health’s digital therapeutics are also available in England, through the NHS, in North Hampshire and the Thames Valley.

WHY IT MATTERS

In 2017, the Scottish Government announced a decade-long commitment to mental healthcare, establishing new policy and clinical services focused on improving mental health access and outcomes. 

This included the prioritisation of the Computerised CBT (cCBT) & Digital Mental Health programme for psychological self-help resources and expanded treatment options for patients. 

The collaboration with Big Health will scale access to the cCBT programme through the Daylight and Sleepio apps, which administer evidenced-based cognitive behavioural therapy in digital format, effectively providing non-drug alternatives for sleep and mental health. 

THE LARGER CONTEXT 

Last year Big Health announced a $39 million (€33.7M) Series B raise to support new product development.

Meanwhile, Pear Therapeutics launched its digital therapeutic for chronic insomnia, Somryst, which uses cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia (CBTi) to train the brain and body to sleep. 

Mental health and disease management platform Happify Health also recently launched a digital therapeutics service for depression and anxiety, which is available by prescription only. Earlier this year Happify announced it had raised $73 million (€63M) as part of a new Series D and other related financing. The funds will contribute towards a greater push into its configurable digital therapeutics products.

ON THE RECORD

Scotland’s mental wellbeing and social care minister, Kevin Stewart said: “Digital technologies have massive potential to help people manage and support their mental health in a way that feels right for them. We are working with NHS Scotland to combine traditional in-person services with technology enabled solutions, allowing us to reach people with the right treatment at the right time.
 
“The COVID-19 pandemic has only affirmed what we knew from the beginning – digital mental health is critical to help scale much-needed services and provide additional choice for people to manage their mental health. After assessing the effectiveness of Daylight and Sleepio, we are pleased to launch these treatments nationwide, providing clinically validated solutions for those who need it most.”

Big Health UK director, Dr Charlotte Lee, said: “As demand for mental health services continues to rise, innovative countries like Scotland have focused on genuinely expanding access to care with digital medicines.


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