Good Thinking, London’s free NHS-approved digital wellbeing service for people living and working in London, has published its first report tracking its journey from concept to pilot and into a service that has so far reached over 250,000 people experiencing anxiety, low mood, stress and sleeping difficulties in the capital – The Good Thinking journey: How the first-ever city-wide digital mental wellbeing service helped a quarter of a million Londoners
In any one week, around 1 in 6, or 1 million, Londoners will experience a mental health disorder.1 Since its pilot launched in November 2017, Good Thinking has had over 350,000 visitors to its website. Around one-third of visitors are repeat users of the service. It is the first of its kind for a global city; combining funding from London’s boroughs and the NHS to offer all Londoners access to proven digital advice and pro-active wellbeing tools that are personalised to their needs.
The online mental wellbeing service that’s free for Londoners uses social media and search advertising to reach people who are looking for help with the four most common mental wellbeing concerns. It offers them advice and resources that are matched to their experiences and preferred methods of treatment, including online courses and apps that treat anxiety, low mood, stress and sleeping difficulties.
During the pilot Good Thinking tested adult Londoners’ willingness to use online self-care resources by partnering with NHS-approved digital wellbeing providers to offer free online mindfulness (BeMindful) and cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) for insomnia (Sleepio). Following the success for the pilot, the service has added two more fully-funded mobile CBT apps: MyCognition for a resilience building, and My Possible Self a mood tracking app.
The launch of the pilot had followed two years of research that sought to inform the design of a digital service that would respond to what Londoners said they were ready to engage with for proactive wellbeing and self-care. A theory of change was developed that uses behavioural insights methodology and includes a map of desirable outputs and impacts.
Dr Richard Graham, Consultant Psychiatrist and Clinical Lead for Good Thinking, said:
“Londoners are not getting the help they need when their wellbeing is suffering. Our research led us to realise that to reach everyone who needs support, including those who are reluctant or in denial, we need to meet them where they are. If something appears on their social media or in searches that resonates, it offers them a doorway to Good Thinking to access help. The personal journey from feeling something is wrong to finally seeking help for a mental health issue can take two years. We can reduce that significantly and prevent serious problems from developing.”
Sarah, Good Thinking and Be Mindful user, said:
“If you can make the commitment to do what is asked of you during the course and keep it up after you’ve finished you will feel the benefits. Certainly it helps with anxiety, sleeping better and feeling less stressed. It’s definitely worth giving it a go. There are a lot of different approaches out there, apps and online courses, and you need to find the one that works for you.”
Dr Paul Plant, interim London Regional Director of Public Health England, said:
“London should be a place where everyone enjoys good mental health and no one is left to struggle alone. We looked to Londoners to understand how we could support them to cope better with the normal stresses of life. Good Thinking helps Londoners find trustworthy apps and advice that can help them improve their mental health so that they can get on with their lives.”
Imran Choudhury, Director of Public Health, London Borough of Sutton, said:
“The potential that Good Thinking offers to respond to the growing wellbeing needs of Londoners is very positive. We’ve seen that Londoners are open to taking up new ways to self-care for their mental health, to use apps and online resources and to self-assess to learn more about the causes of their problems and take action. Good Thinking is a scalable solution that all London boroughs can safely use to provide proactive and early intervention tools to Londoners who are feeling anxious, low, stressed, or having difficulty sleeping.”
Jane Milligan, Senior Responsible Officer North East London Sustainability and Transformation Partnership, and Co-Chair of London Mental Health Transformation Board, said:
“London needs to be able to respond to the mental health and wellbeing needs of the people who call the capital home. An important part of that is finding effective new ways to offer mental health support at the points when we know people are looking to act and offering approaches that can suit their lives. Good Thinking offers Londoners 24/7 access to clinically-trusted digital self-care tools and interventions across a range of channels, and at various levels of need, at those moments when they are looking for help.”
Dr Tom Coffey OBE, Mayor of London Health Advisor, said:
“We want London to be a city where everyone can speak openly about their mental health and get the support they need. People from all walks of life are affected by poor mental health, which is why the Mayor, through Thrive LDN, is working hard to remove the stigma, challenge inequalities and raise awareness of good mental health. We’re pleased that Good Thinking is making it easier for Londoners to find new ways to get personalised support to improve their mental health.”
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Notes for editors
2 Good Thinking’s website (www.good-thinking.uk) does not collect information about users. Where users accept geolocation settings, it can collect general location information. Approx. 65% of users accept geolocation settings. To access apps that have been funded for Londoners, users must register for an account with the app provider using their postcode to validate their eligibility.
3 Good Thinking developed through a partnership of London Borough Councils led by Directors of Public Health, London’s NHS and Public Health England. It is funded by a majority of London Borough Councils and London’s NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups.
4 2017/18 digital partners: BeMindful, the Mental Health Foundation’s online mindfulness course, and Sleepio ,proven cognitive behaviour therapy for people with insomnia.
5 Theory of change model
For media queries contact Kim.Boyle@nhs.net