Computerised CBT for anxious patients

Computer-based cognitive behavioural therapy (cCBT) will be available for patients suffering from common mental health conditions this month, health secretary Patricia Hewitt has announced.

Any patient in England suffering from mental health conditions will be offered the therapy.

The establishment of cCBT in every PCT in England throughout 2007/8 will form an important part of the NHS plan to deliver comprehensive psychological therapy services.

Two computer-based pro-grams have been given approval by NICE for use by the NHS.

The Fear Fighter program will be used for treating people who have phobias or suffer from panic attacks. The Beating the Blues program will be used to treat patients suffering from mild to moderate depression.

Ms Hewitt said that clinical evidence had shown the therapy was as effective as medication in treating most cases of depression.

But Paul Farmer, chief executive of the mental health charity MIND, warned that cCBT would not suit every patient.

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