In October 2022, the SilverCloud online Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) service opened its virtual doors to help children, young people and parents across Wales manage their mental wellbeing. The SilverCloud team explains how to access the service in Powys and offers some tips to support the young people in your life.

Home schooling and pandemic lockdowns may seem like a distant memory now that we’ve (largely) returned to “normal“, yet the challenges of the past few years are having a lasting impact on our younger generation.

According to research by NHS Digital, 1 in 6 children and young people had a diagnosable mental health condition in 2021, such as anxiety or low mood. This is up from 1 in 9 in 2017.

Early intervention and support can help young people build the emotional skills that are vital for learning, life and good mental health in future.

SilverCloud has supported over 33,000 people in Wales since launching its self-referral programmes for adults in September 2020. Following a successful pilot in Powys this year, young people throughout Wales, and their parents/carers, can now access a suite of CBT-based online support programmes to help with mild-to-moderate anxiety and low mood.

Parents and carers can sign up for a free 12-week online therapy programme for help in supporting children and young people aged 4-18 with mild-to-moderate anxiety.

Teens aged 16-18 throughout Wales can sign up to our self-referral service directly via their mobile, tablet or laptop – without needing adult consent – for support with mild-to-moderate anxiety or low mood.

Young people aged 11+ in Powys can be referred into SilverCloud by Powys Teaching Health Board Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS), Powys County Council Education, Youth Service, Youth Intervention Service, Youth Justice and Early Help.

Making the service available to children, young people and their parents/ carers enables thousands more people to get early access to support when they need it.

Psychological Assistant and Clinical Online CBT Coordinator, Jess Ferdinando, explains how SilverCloud can help:

“The past couple of years have been particularly difficult for children and their families. As well as navigating the usual stresses of growing up, young people are still living with the impacts of a global health crisis.

“Supporting children and young people who are struggling with their mental health can be challenging. SilverCloud offers practical, clinically proven help for young people to manage anxiety and low mood as well as help for parents/carers in supporting them.

“Our pilot of the children’s and young person’s service has already had a positive impact in Powys, so I’m thrilled we’ve been able to extend this support to young people and their families throughout Wales.

“All our programmes are packed with useful insights, practical tools and activities to empower young people to manage their problems and apply what they learn in their daily lives.

“It’s supportive, too! We like to call it online therapy with a human touch because every client is assigned a SilverCloud supporter; this is an online CBT coordinator who guides the client through the programme and provides regular personalised feedback.

“One of the great things about SilverCloud is its flexibility; you can access the therapy programmes from any online device and work through them at your own pace, which makes it easier to fit around your life. For the best results, we recommend that people access their SilverCloud programme 3-4 times each week for 15-20 minutes each time.”

Tips for Parents Supporting a Child with Anxiety

“If your child or teen is experiencing anxiety,” continues Jess, “there’s lots you can do as a parent or carer to help them. This includes taking care yourself too! I’ve put together a few tips for parents and carers:
Keep your cool. Seeing your child in distress can be upsetting. You could feel a range of emotions including sadness, frustration and even anger over what your child is going through. These are all normal responses to a challenging situation. You’re in a much better position to make sensible parenting decisions when you’re calm, as opposed to reacting emotionally.

Remember to take time out for yourself to relax. Have you heard the phrase “you can’t pour from an empty cup”? It means that for us to take care of others, we also need to take care of ourselves. This is especially important if you’re helping a child who is struggling with their mental health. If you can, take some time out to do something you enjoy.

Listen to your child. You may instinctively want to take action to fix whatever is causing your child to feel anxious. Sometimes, you don’t need to have the answers or fix it; take time to listen to your child and understand the situation. You child is more likely to confide in you if they feel seen and heard and know you will listen to them without judgement or criticism.

Find support for yourself from professionals and other trusted adults. As a parent or carer, it’s natural to want to support your child during difficult times. Remember that you need support too. You don’t have to go it alone; reach out to trusted friends, family members or healthcare professionals if you’re struggling.

Work together as a team – you’re stronger together!”

What programmes are available?

SilverCloud programmes are based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), an evidence-based therapy that works by encouraging young people to challenge the way they think and behave to become better equipped to deal with life’s challenges.

There are five specially designed Children & Young People (CYP) programmes available on SilverCloud; three for young people and two for parents:
Space from Anxiety can help young people understand their anxiety and learn skills to help them cope better.

Space from Low Mood can help young people to understand and manage symptoms of low mood.

Space from Anxiety and Low Mood can help young people understand and manage symptoms of anxiety and low mood.

Supporting an Anxious Child helps parents and carers of children aged 4-11 in understanding and managing their anxiety.

Supporting an Anxious Teen helps parents and carers of young people aged 12-18 in understanding and managing their anxiety.

How to access help for young people in Powys

People in Powys have two ways to access SilverCloud’s tailored support programmes for children, young people and parents.

1. Self-Referral – available throughout Wales

Anyone aged 16+ can sign up to a SilverCloud programme online via our self-referral service; this means you can sign-up directly without needing to be referred by a GP or healthcare professional.

Choose one of the easy-to-use, interactive online mental health and wellbeing programmes to complete over 12 weeks and receive fortnightly feedback from your online SilverCloud Supporter, one of the mental health professionals whose role is to support users of the service.

All of our adult programmes are open to individuals over 16; we recommend that young people aged 16-18 choose one of our CYP programmes which have been developed with young people in mind. Young people aged 16+ can sign up to a SilverCloud programme independently of a parent.
Space From Anxiety (CYP) – for young people aged 16-18.

Space From Low Mood (CYP) – for young people aged 16-18.

Space From Anxiety and Low Mood (CYP) – for young people aged 16-18.

Supporting an Anxious Child (parents/carers of children aged 4-11).

Supporting an Anxious Teen (parents/carers of young people aged 12-18).

2. Referred service (Powys residents only)

In Powys, young people aged 11+ have unique access to our CYP programmes through our referred service. Access to these programmes is only available to young people below the age of 16 following a referral to SilverCloud by one of the following teams:
PTHB Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS);

PCC Education, Youth Service, Youth Intervention Service, Youth Justice, Early Help.

Programmes available through our referred service:
Space From Anxiety (CYP) – for young people aged 11-18.

Space From Low Mood (CYP) – for young people aged 11-18.

Space From Anxiety and Low Mood (CYP) – for young people aged 11-18.

Supporting an Anxious Child (parents/carers of children aged 4-11).

Supporting an Anxious Teen (parents/carers of young people aged 12-18.

Want to know more about SilverCloud in Wales and online CBT?
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