In April 2018, OSF HealthCare became the first health care system in the U.S. to offer free digital mental health services to individuals in all of the communities it serves by open enrollment.
“Gaining access to behavioral health services remains a challenge for people nationwide,” said Luke Raymond, manager of Behavioral Health Services for OSF HealthCare. “SilverCloud gives us the opportunity to reach anyone in our service areas seeking treatment for common mental health disorders.”
SilverCloud, available via handheld device, computer or laptop, is an anonymous, secure and interactive platform that helps people manage the feeling and causes of depression, anxiety or stress. It consists of up to seven interactive modules that can be completed in any order, typically over an eight to 10 week period. These include mindfulness exercises, interactive journaling, mood and lifestyle charting.
Raymond and Samantha Marotta, MSN, RN, project manager of Behavioral Health Services, weigh in on the best ways to use SilverCloud and who may benefit the most.
Q. How is OSF HealthCare Behavioral Health Services using SilverCloud in treatment?
A. We’ve identified three different care paths for the most appropriate uses of SilverCloud. The first is to offer the digital service to patients who are waiting to obtain face-to-face behavioral health services. The second is to assign SilverCloud to patients who are already receiving behavioral health treatment. The third would be as follow-up care for patients who have been through inpatient or outpatient treatment.
Q. Is this digital tool just for OSF HealthCare patients?
A. No! Anyone who is 18 years old or older and lives in an area served by OSF HealthCare can enroll in the depression, anxiety, depression/anxiety combination or stress management treatment modules. The depression and anxiety modules come with a Behavioral Health Supporter, or someone who can help participants through the process and provide extra support if needed.
However, anyone using the application can choose to work through these components without clinical support. The stress management module is unsupported.
Q. How will I know how severe my depression or anxiety is without a face-to-face consultation?
A. Those enrolling in SilverCloud will be asked to fill out depression and anxiety questionnaires as part of the process. The results of these surveys are used for screening, monitoring and measuring the severity of depression and anxiety. A behavioral health supporter will contact any participants they believe won’t benefit from SilverCloud.
Q. What are some scenarios where you would recommend SilverCloud?
A. A great example of when SilverCloud is appropriate for treatment is for those experiencing a significant stressor in their lives such as a death in the family, job change or divorce. It’s also beneficial for people who have been dealing with depression or anxiety over time and feel like they could benefit from independent work with support.
SilverCloud is not an emergency management tool. People dealing with significant impairment from mental health problems such as schizophrenia, active delusions, thoughts of suicide or homicide or having significant crisis type symptoms should call 911, call the national suicide prevention lifeline at (800) 273-8255 or go to the nearest emergency room.
Q. What have you learned so far from those who’ve participated in SilverCloud?
A. We’ve been collecting feedback as more people choose to seek treatment from SilverCloud. Participants have pointed out that they loved the visuals, personal stories and breathing exercises included in some of the learning modules. They are also sharing how working through their issues has improved communication and decreased stress, anger and frustration. A majority of those surveyed say the program is supporting them in making progress toward goals.
You can enroll in SilverCloud anytime and anywhere at osf.silvercloudhealth.com/signup