Priory, UK’s biggest mental healthcare provider, expands services to offer online video therapy to meet rise in demand for therapy for depression, anxiety
- Between January 2020 and January 2021, there was a 42% increase in enquiries to Priory’s private services about depression, and a 21.5% increase about anxiety
- Priory has launched an online therapy service, enabling patients to receive therapy via video-link at home, as an alternative to face-to-face therapy at its hospitals and clinics
Priory, the UK’s largest independent mental health provider, has launched its own online video therapy service to help address a significant increase in demand for therapy for depression and anxiety – and to enable people to access therapy remotely in the event of any further lockdowns.
The new service enables people to access Priory’s experts via their mobile or tablet device, and talk to them face-to-face via video link, in a location that suits them – including at weekends and in the evenings.
Between January 2020 and January 2021, there was a 42% increase in the number of enquiries to Priory’s private services about depression, and a 21.5% increase in enquiries about anxiety.
This year, from January 2021 to March 2021, enquiries about depression rose by nearly a quarter (23%), with anxiety up by more than 10%.
While Priory’s hospitals and wellbeing centres have remained fully open throughout the pandemic, some people have been reluctant to venture out. Others have wanted mental health support but been working flat-out, or been unaware it can be accessed remotely.
People diagnosed with COVID-19 in the previous six months are more likely to develop depression, according to a study in the Lancet Psychiatry journal. Anxiety and mood disorders were the most common diagnosis among those with COVID, and these were more likely to be down to the stress of the experience of being very ill or taken to hospital.
And according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), rates of depression have more than doubled since before the coronavirus pandemic, yet despite this, fewer people than ever have been seeking help from their GP.
Just over a fifth of people in Britain experienced some form of depression between January 27th and March 7th 2021, more than double the pre-pandemic figure, according to the ONS.
The impact was felt more greatly in younger adults, women and people who live alone - with 43% of women aged between 16 and 29 reporting some form of depression: 43% of women aged 16 to 29 experienced depression in early 2021 in comparison with 26% in men of the same age range.
Priory's online therapy service offers a broad range of therapies, centred on cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), for mental health conditions including depression, anxiety, stress and bereavement. Patients over the age of 18 will be able to choose the mental health specialist best suited to them.
Priory is the leading independent provider of mental healthcare in the UK, and looks after 30,000 people a year across its services.
A new online Priory survey of 1,000 adults has flagged concerns about the nation’s overall mental health, with 1 in 3 (34%) saying the pandemic and lockdown had been “the most stressful and anxiety-ridden period of their life”. Around 1 in 4 (24%) said the state of their mental health had been exacerbated by fear of job loss, or fears about their finances as a result of a job already lost. Nearly half (49%) said stress and “feeling overwhelmed” during COVID-19 had made it difficult to do their job properly.
However, the poll findings also suggested that people are now more likely to actively seek help for their mental health. Around 1 in 5 (18%) said the impact of the pandemic would encourage them to reach out for help, with 1 in 10 (10%) stating they had sought mental health support for the first time, either via a charity, helpline, or NHS or private provider.
Joe McEvoy, director of innovation and digital at Priory, said: “There has been a surge of people turning to online therapy for their mental health. Many have been dealing with loss, grief and separation. Our online therapy service benefits from the high regulatory standards provided at our hospitals and wellbeing centres across the UK. Patients will have the choice to receive as many therapy sessions as they want or need.
“The convenience of online therapy is one of the main benefits. Therapists are highly experienced, and patients will have the choice of who treats them. All our services are regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), so people are assured of professionalism and quality.
“It allows you to be in a place you feel most at ease with yourself – this can mean you feel more comfortable talking openly, and your therapy can fit around your other responsibilities, helping to alleviate some of the stress you may be feeling about getting treatment.”
In addition, Priory recently joined forces with My Possible Self to offer Priory-curated digital mental health advice via a phone app.
My Possible Self features six user-friendly guided series - sleeping well, overcoming my anxiety, tackling my depression, easing my work stress, drinking safely and gambling safely. At the tap of a button, the user can record their mood in the moment, identify behaviours over time and continuously monitor progress using the interactive toolkit. Other features include visual and mental exercises, personalised reminders and motivational messages.
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An online survey was conducted by Atomik Research among 1,002 respondents from the UK. The research fieldwork took place on 12th February – 15th February 2021. Atomik Research is an independent creative market research agency that employs MRS-certified researchers and abides to MRS code.
Priory is the leading provider of behavioural care in the UK, caring for around 30,000 people a year for conditions including depression, anxiety, drugs and alcohol addiction, eating disorders and self-harming. The Group is organised into two divisions – Healthcare and Adult Care.
About My Possible Self
My Possible Self is available via the Apple App Store, Google Play and Good Thinking, the NHS-approved wellbeing service. The app is listed at the NHS Apps Library, demonstrating it meets NHS technical, clinical and safety standards.