WITH studies showing an increase in levels of anxiety and other mental health problems since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the Welsh Government has announced an extra £1.3 million towards tackling the problem.

The funding announced by health minister Vaughan Gething today, Tuesday, will be used to create a new online cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) course, as well as more online and phone support services.

CBT is a form of therapy based on talking, aimed at helping people suffering with issues such as anxiety and depression change the way they think.

Mr Gething said: “Surveys by the Office of National Statistics and Public Health Wales have shown that levels of anxiety rose at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, and have remained higher than usual during lockdown.

“NHS Wales and partners already provide some phone and online-based mental health support, but today’s announcement will extend what it already available and provide a new online CBT course, that anyone aged 16 or over can access.”

The course will be run as part of the support on SilverCloud – which is available for anyone over 16. It is an online course that offers support for anxiety, depression and many more mental illnesses. You can sign up here: nhswales.silvercloudhealth.com/signup


Mr Gething added: “SilverCloud offers support for a range of issues including anxiety and depression. The national pilot of the programme is being evaluated to test usability and effectiveness, building on previous work led by Powys Local Health Board which so far has supported more than 3,000 people.”

CALL Mental Health Listening Line, Bead eating disorders helpline, Mind Active Monitoring, Activate Your Life and Young Person’s Mental Health Toolkit will also be given a share of the funding.

“The Welsh Government is committed to supporting the mental health of the public, and we have ensured this package of additional measures are in place ahead of any potential second wave this winter and as the impact of the pandemic is felt more widely," said Mr Gething.

“These services are aimed at helping low level mental health issues, they are not a replacement for more specialist services but we hope by providing instant access to support they will help reduce pressure on primary care and other more specialist services."

The CALL Mental Health Listening Line provides a confidential mental health listening and emotional support line 24/7. They are also able to signpost to local support and online information. You can call 0800132737, text ‘help’ to 81066 or visit callhelpline.org.uk

Beat provides helplines and information for adults and young people and offer support to talk about eating disorders and how to get help. Call 0808 801 0677 or visit https://www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk/support-services

Mind Active Monitoring is a six-week guided self-help programme for issues including anxiety, depression and self-esteem. Your GP or other health professional are able to get you started on this, or you can sign up directly at https://www.mind.org.uk/get-involved/active-monitoring-sign-up/active-monitoring-form/

Activate Your Life is an online video course that shares practical ways to cope with thoughts and feelings causing distress and to help you live life with more confidence. You can find out more and register at phw.nhs.wales/activateyourlife

The Young Person’s Mental Health Toolkit is for people aged 11 to 25 and contains websites, apps and helplines to build resilience. It can be accessed here bit.ly/ypmhten