New £2m digital mental health service for Londoners goes online in the autum

Sir Sam Everington

Sir Sam Everington - Credit: TH CCCG

A new mental help internet service for all Londoners being set up in the autumn is to be run by leading GPs in the East End.

The Tower Hamlets Clinical Commissioning Group headed by recently-knighted Bromley-by-Bow GP Sir Sam Everington has been appointed to oversee the digital service, the Mental Health Priority Board announced today.

“Providing an online service letting people direct themselves to support could help reduce the burden on the NHS,” Sir Sam said. “Pressures on the individual are preventable, with evidence that identifying and treating common conditions early leads to better outcomes.”

Some 15 out of 100 adults are likely to have a common disorder such as anxiety, depression, phobias, obsessive compulsion or panic disorders, medical experts say. But only one-in-four gets help to cope with the stress of living in the urban jungle.

The Priority Board’s Dr Paul Plant said: “Living in London is not the positive experience for some we would hope for—it should be a place where everyone has good mental health and no-one is left to suffer alone.”

The £2.4 million pilot project, to run 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, will give anonymous help for those under stress to manage their anxiety and low levels of depression. It would be monitored round-the-clock by medical professionals.

The service, claimed as a “world first” for a metropolis the size of London, is to give open access support to avoid a need to visit a doctor or be referred to a health service.