Poots urges use of interactive online programme for depression

Health Minister Edwin Poots has urged people who are depressed to access an online programme aimed at tackling the symptoms of depression.

Around 350 patients a month are already accessing online programme, Beating the Blues, but the Health Minister believes more people suffering from depression could benefit from this interactive tool. The programme is delivered free of charge to the patient through their GP.

Health Minister, Edwin Poots visited Mount GP surgery to see the Beating the Blues programme in practice. Speaking during the visit, the Minister said: “Many people in our communities suffer from depression. Beating the Blues offers an effective alternative to medication for the treatment of depression and can be used on its own, or as a complement to other types of therapy.

“The interactive tool enables patients to take control of their treatment and their mental health by changing the way they think about issues affecting their lives.”

Beating the Blues is a computer-based cognitive behavioural therapy programme designed to treat mild to moderate depression and can be accessed via the internet. The tool consists of a series of eight sessions which last about 50 minutes. During each session, patients can explore problems that are specific to them and work on practical, realistic skills to help them tackle the things that cause them to feel down.

The Minister continued: “My Department has funded up to 50,000 licences and around 350 patients are logging on to the programme every month which is excellent, but I would like to see many more people accessing this treatment, which is approved by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence.”

About Toni Bunting

Toni joined Ireland’s longest established telecare company, TASK Community Care in 2009, and is responsible for operations and business development in its Northern Ireland division. Having originally planned for a career in the legal profession, she gained her Bachelor of Laws degree in 2004, and subsequently completed the Legal Practice Course at the College of Law of England and Wales. Toni also holds a Master’s Degree in Management & Corporate Governance and has carried out various legal research/publications work for the Law Centre (NI) on a voluntary basis, with a focus on Community Care Law.
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