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Information for Practitioners

What is Beating the Blues

Beating the Blues has been proven to help people suffering with mild and moderate depression to get better and stay better and is based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

It is a way of helping people to learn to cope with anxiety and depression and has been recommended for use in the NHS by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).

Beating the Blues brings all the benefits of CBT directly to your patients by the use of computer and multi-media technology which means that you can access the treatment when and where you want. This type of therapy is referred to as Computerised CBT.

Independent research has shown that CCBT works for many people with depression and anxiety by teaching practical, lifelong skills to help them feel better and stay better.

This program was jointly designed and developed by Dr Judy Proudfoot and her team at the Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College, London.

View a video tour of one of the sections in Beating the Blues that teaches you about pleasurable events.

NICE Guidance

On February 26th 2006 the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) published a technical appraisal recommending that Beating the Blues should be offered as a treatment option for people who have mild and moderate depression in both primary and secondary care. They made this recommendation following a review of all the evidence that was available from published research, reviews by professionals and information provided by organisations that had developed Computerised CBT programs.

Beating the Blues was the only treatment program recommended by NICE for the treatment of people with mild and moderate depression at this time.

Subsequently NICE, in the Depression Guidelines of Oct 2006, broadened the recommendation for CCBT as a whole. Beating the Blues, however, remains the only program with an RCT evidence base on a UK population. It is also the only product meeting state of the art requirements for Data Protection whilst offering a clinician friendly monitoring capability and full customer support

Stepped Care Approach to Treating Depression

In October 2009 NICE published further guidance on the treatment of adults with depression and adults with depression and a chronic physical illness. These NICE clinical guidelines on depression cover:

  • The care people with depression can expect to receive from their GP or other healthcare professionals, whether they receive treatment in or out of hospital.
  • The information they can expect to receive about their problem and its treatment.
  • What they can expect from treatment, including psychological therapies, drug treatment and electroconvulsive therapy.
  • The kind of services that help people with depression, including your GP, specialist mental health services and hospital care.

This guidance indicated that CBT was the most evidence based psychological approach to the treatment of depression and that CCBT was a beneficial a way of providing access to psychological therapies.

Stepped Care Diagram
Step 4: Severe and complex depression; risk to life; severe self-neglect Medication, high-intensity psychological interventions, electroconvulsive therapy, crisis service, combined treatments, multiprofessional and inpatient care
Step 3: Persistent subthreshold depressive symptoms or mild to moderate depression with inadequate response to initial interventions; moderate and severe depression Medication, high-intensity psychological interventions, combined treatments, collaborative careb and referral for further assessment and interventions
Step 2: Persistent subthreshold depressive symptoms; mild to moderate depression Low-intensity psychosocial interventions, psychological interventions, medication and referral for further assessment and interventions
Step 1: All known and suspected presentations of depression Assessment, support, psychoeducation, active monitoring and referral for further assessment and interventions


What is the Evidence?

Beating the Blues has been through independent randomised controlled trials. The results of these trials, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, demonstrate that Beating the Blues is an effective treatment for anxiety and depression, and is better than GP treatment as usual.

Our RCT study showed that the effectiveness of Beating the Blues was independent of the severity of depression. People with sub-threshold depressive symptoms were also effectively treated

Beating the Blues has also been shown to be effective in treating depression in people with physical illness

Most of the evidence for Beating the Blues is obtained from UK NHS settings. Other programmes have little or no evidence for effectiveness in the NHS.

A full list of publications is available in the published papers section.

People using Beating the Blues benefit from 30 additional depression free-days in the 6 months after treatment. Patient satisfaction has been demonstrated in an open study when nine out of ten patients would recommend Beating the Blues to others and over half found the program better than other treatments they had previously received.

Testimonials from Healthcare Professionals

  • David Walter Primary Care Mental Health Worker
    "As a service we like to be able to offer different therapies for different people and Beating the Blues really meets an unmet need at the moment for people who to come in and actually focus on picking up techniques and perhaps not having to speak to a therapist every session."
  • Dr. Mark Allen GP The Maltings Surgery
    "We've been surprised by how effective computerised CBT can be on its own, in a few cases people even prefer it to seeing a person."
  • Simon Vearnals Psychologist Primary Care – Psychology services
    "Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is probably the most research evidence based treatment in the world today."
  • Nicki Lidbetter Chief Officer Self Help Services
    "CBT is very much about putting people at the centre of their own recovery and giving them if you like a tool kit to get them back in control of their lives."

Getting Patients access through the NHS

Your PCT is responsible for commissioning services to meet the needs of its patients. CCBT is identified as one of the first interventions that could be offered to people with mild and moderate depression within the published NICE Guidelines about managing Depression.

If Beating the Blues is not available in your PCT and you think that you or your patients would benefit from having access to CCBT then we suggest that you contact the Mental Health Commissioner to ask them to consider making it available.

If you want to find out more please contact our team.