By: 9 May 2022
Digital therapy to help manage perinatal mental health

In the UK, up to 20%[1] of women and 10%[2] of men develop some form of mental health problem during the perinatal period, the time in which an individual is pregnant, up to a year post-partum.

The most common are symptoms associated with depression and anxiety.

Working in partnership alongside the NHS, SilverCloud Health, a UK provider of clinically proven digital CBT (iCBT) programmes, developed a specific Space for Perinatal Wellbeing programme to help patients better manage their mental health during the perinatal period.

SilverCloud Health’s clinically proven digital programme uses iCBT among other proven techniques to help parents better understand their symptoms during this period, and the accompanying emotional and physical changes. Importantly, it also helps those who use it to understand they are not alone, and that these changes in feelings are commonplace in both men and women.

Parents that use the programme learn how to work through their thoughts, feelings, and behaviours and implement positive changes designed to improve their wellbeing. Using CBT and Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR), patients are encouraged to discover ways to reduce tension and worry, and to improve their mood. Additionally, they explore strategies which allow them to recognise and reflect on their mental health at a pace that is right for them, in their own home, at any time of day or night.

The programme encourages individuals to consider how the way they are feeling and coping with their emotions can be influenced by many factors across their lives. It asks parents and caregivers to think about their diet, levels of exercise, caffeine, and alcohol intake, as well as their sleep habits. They are also encouraged to build a strong support network and seek help when needed.

After completing the Space for Perinatal Wellbeing programme, patients are left equipped with tools and techniques to better manage their triggers and cope with the way they are feeling.  It also teaches patients the language they need to be able to share their emotions with those around them, along with a sense of validation that others are experiencing these emotions and they are not alone.

The Space for Perinatal Wellbeing programme was first implemented by Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, who rolled out SilverCloud across their services. In addition to providing invaluable guidance for users, the programme also facilitated immediate support for this high-risk group, cutting down on unsupported patients whilst on wait lists for talking therapies.

On average users of the programme logged in 17 times over the course of their use of the programme and spent on average 14 minutes online during each visit. The programme has received very positive feedback, with 94% of users marking ‘agreed’ or ‘strongly’ agreed when asked if they were satisfied with the programme.

SilverCloud Health offers a wide variety of programmes to help patients manage their mental health – available online, anytime, anywhere. Of individuals who have used SilverCloud, 56% of those who had a clinical diagnosis of anxiety and depression were free of diagnosis after three months. In addition to this, 85% of patients show improvement in depression and anxiety symptoms, with 65% of people experiencing clinically significant improvement. Those in need can be referred to the SilverCloud platform via their GP or healthcare professional team.


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[1] Van Niel, M. and Payne, J., 2020. Perinatal depression: A review. Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine, 87(5), pp.273-277.

[2] O’Brien, A., McNeil, K., Fletcher, R., Conrad, A., Wilson, A., Jones, D. and Chan, S., 2016. New Fathers’ Perinatal Depression and Anxiety—Treatment Options: An Integrative Review. American Journal of Men’s Health, 11(4), pp.863-876.