Monday, 25 April 2016

The latest on MasterMind - computerised CBT in Powys

Powys Teaching Health Board staff at a MasterMind seminar in Odense, Denmark in October 2015.
Front row far right: Dr Wasi Mohamad, PTHB Clinical Director & Consultant Psychiatrist who is the Clinical Lead for MasterMind; next to him: Becka Williams Project Administration Assistant. Back row second from right: Harold Proctor Dementia Lead for PTHB and the MasterMind Project Executive.
Back in August 2014 our friends at Powys Teaching Health Board wrote on Introducing MasterMind - computerised CBT in Powys. 

The MasterMind project is currently being piloted across Europe, including Powys. Some individuals with a diagnosis of low to moderate depression have been able to access the computerised Cognitive Behavioural Therapy course in their own homes. We decided now was a good time for an update and Becka Williams, who works with the team overseeing this project, gives us the latest news.

MasterMind – where are we?

We have just begun the final year of the MasterMind project with the project due close in February 2017.

We went ‘live’ with the online CBT programme in March 2015 and have had 216 referrals since. We have implemented this service into the Local Primary Mental Health Support Service teams (LPMHSS), Pain Management and Occupational Health and in recent weeks have started engaging with the GP practices in Powys to encourage GP direct referrals.

A bit about the programme…

Powys staff opted for Beating the Blues as their software of choice which was developed by our service provider Ultrasis with ownership transferring to 365 Health & Wellbeing.

What does Beating the Blues consist of?

Beating the Blues consists of eight, approximately 1-2 hour sessions recommended to be completed weekly. The programme is interactive. During sessions you can watch video clips, complete exercises and learn CBT techniques that can help with depression and anxiety. Each week tasks will be given to be completed during the time between sessions.

How will it help?

Beating the Blues will help to pinpoint and change unhelpful ways of thinking that can affect how you feel, whilst teaching you more effective ways of solving problems.

How many sessions need to be completed?

It is important to complete as many sessions as possible. When completing the first couple of sessions it may be hard to see how it is relevant to your situation, however the programme is designed to build up your knowledge and skills over the weeks, if you stop too early, you will not get the full benefit of the treatment. The advice is to complete all eight sessions.

Where can the course be completed?

The course can be completed in your home or in a community site such as a library. To do it at home you need a PC or laptop with either speakers or earphones, along with access to a printer as there will also be a need to print material most weeks. Beating the Blues does not run on iPads, Tablets or Smart Phones at present. When doing it at home it is important to set aside enough time to complete your session at roughly the same time each week and ensure you have sufficient privacy to do so. You do not have to complete all sessions from the same location, you may want to complete some from home and some form one of the community sites. 

Feedback from participants

“The sessions were brilliant.”

“The programme was good in many aspects.”

Most techniques I knew but Beating the Blues helped me put them into action.”

The Mastermind seminar in Denmark, October 2015

Collaborative Care through Videoconferencing (cCVC)

The second part of the MasterMind project is the collaboration of care through videoconferencing (VC) which we are currently implementing. In the initial stages we will be implementing this in the Crisis Resolution Home Treatment Teams (CRHTT) and the Community Mental Healthcare Teams (CMHT). In short, a member of these teams will meet with the patient and together they will have an appointment with the Consultant Psychiatrist through the use of Videoconferencing. The VC software that has been rolled out across the Health Board is Skype for Business.

Our EU Partners

Throughout the project, there have been a number of meetings and events taking place across Europe to get together with our European MasterMind partners to discuss the project, the pros and cons and generally share thoughts and ideas. The project has been a great opportunity for networking, building working relationships and shared learning. 

Many thanks to Becka for the update. Have you had experience of Beating the Blues or other computerised CBT sessions? Let us know what you think in the comments box below.

You can find out more about the MasterMind Project on the project website, and also join the debate on Twitter.


  1. A large-scale pragmatic RCT of cCBT has already been done, and results were published last year: Unfortunately, they found that it was no more effective than standard GP care, but it's nice to have the option of something different, I guess. Some have commented that the drop-out rate was rather high, but this was a supported trial, so even with 1-to-1 support, participants found it hard to stick to. I hope this has been taken note of, and that increased support is being provided in your pilot.

    1. Hi Lucy, Thank you for your comments which we have duly noted. The use of Beating the Blues in Powys is part of an EU wide research project into a large scale roll-out of cCBT and within the remit of the project we will be looking at drop out rates, why they occur and what can be done to support individuals in undertaking Beating the Blues and encourage completion of the programme.
      Kind regards, Becka (MasterMind Project Administrator)