A new telephone-based scheme was launched last week to help depression sufferers in the Shetland and Western Isles. NHS 24 has established the pilot scheme, NHS Living Life, which is expected to increase the region’s access to psychological therapies. Around 3,000 people per year are expected to use the service, which will run from 1pm-9pm, Monday to Friday.

The main aim of the service is to help people over the age of 16 to use Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). CBT is a form of psychotherapy that helps alter ways of thinking and behaviour that are unhelpful to the client. It is ideal for use during periods of distress or depression. NHS 24 Interim Chief Executive, Doctor George Crooks, said:

“While medication is frequently prescribed, there is a broad awareness that psychological therapies such as CBT can provide long-term benefits to patients.”

CBT has been increasing in popularity in recent years and in many cases has been successfully combined with hypnotherapy, which is also a relatively speedy form of treatment. There are many people suffering from depression who are unable to access treatment because of a shortage of face-to-face qualified therapists, particularly in rural areas, and this scheme will hopefully allow people to be ‘more in control’ of their mental health.