The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has released its recommendation that children and young people can be offered digital cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) as a first-line treatment for mild depression. Children aged 5 to 18 should be offered digital cognitive behavioural therapy (digital CBT) on mobile phones, tablets, and computers.
Digital CBT is already recommended for adults with mild to moderate depression. The draft guideline recommended for children is now out for consultation until 20 February 2019.
Paul Chrisp, director of the Centre for Guidelines at NICE, said: “In this update to our depression in children guideline, we reviewed evidence for the most effective psychological interventions for children and young people with depression. The guideline update emphasises the importance of a child or young person’s personal choice when receiving treatment for depression.
“We want to ensure children are offered a range of therapies to suit their needs and individual preferences are placed at the heart of their care. The evidence showed digital CBT and group therapy were most effective at reducing depressive symptoms and we have recommended these as first-line options for children and young people with mild depression.”
NICE says the choice of the treatment should be based on clinical need and patient and carer preferences. The child or young person’s history, circumstances and maturity should also be considered.
Claire Murdoch, NHS England’s national mental health director, said: “Given how quickly technology is constantly evolving and the fact that young people are usually at the forefront of this change, updating this draft guidance is another step forward. Digital and online interventions can play an effective and important role in treatment, particularly when backed up by face to face support, and the NHS Long Term Plan makes clear that the health service will continue to look to harness the benefits these advancements can bring.”
The draft recommendation was made in a fast-tracked update to its existing guideline on depression in children and young people.