New help to fight depression at Cromer and Sheringham

New help is around the corner for people suffering from depression and anxiety in Cromer and Sheringham.

Two local charities have combined to provide computerised therapy sessions for 50 people, helped by health service funding.

The 10-week programmes will see patients given support to try the on-line course which aims to modify negative thinking in a method - Cognitive Behavioural Therapy - shown to have longer-lasting effects that medication.

The Sheringham-based Yesu centre and North Norfolk Age UK drop in at Cromer are working together to deliver the service which plugs a gap in local mental health provision.

Yesu community worker Peter Farley, who was founder and director of the Matthew Project drug and alcohol support charity for 21 years, said clients would be helped at the centres by people with an understanding of both the system and depression problems.

It was mainly aimed at people with mild to moderate problems, but could also help with those suffering from chronic or acute depression or anxiety.

The technique can benefit people with a range of problems such as stress, panic, phobias eating disorders, anger and low self-esteem.

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Computerised CBT made the therapy more widely available while releasing practitioners, such as GPs, nurses or counsellors, to get on with other tasks.

The two centres would provide people at the sessions to help those without the confidence or competence to work the computer, said Mr Farley.

The effectiveness of the Beating the Blues scheme is also part of a research study being led by Dr Lina Gega at the University of East Anglia, and it was hoped local GPs would see the benefits of the scheme and provide other courses in the future.

Cromer GP Dr Alasdair Lennox, senior partner at the town's group practice and director of the North Norfolk Health Consortium welcomed the new service as 'a helpful addition to existing provision.' And MP Norman Lamb said he was 'very strong believer' in the effectiveness of CBT from his time as shadow health secretary, and has been pushing for it to be available nationally.

The Cromer and Sheringham scheme, which launches on April 1, is available free to anyone registered with a GP in either town.

Posters giving details of the project, will initially be displayed at Yesu centre in High Street, Sheringham, and the Age UK Drop in in Church Street Cromer as well as the information Centre in Cromer, GP surgeries and public libraries in the towns.

Anyone interested in taking part in the Beating the Blues @ Yesu project at Sheringham, will be asked to contact Peter Farley on 01263 825516 or by email at or text 07768 450 430, or Sally Martin, at Age UK, Cromer 01263 519195.