The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended digital cognitive behavioural therapy (digital CBT) for use on the NHS in children and young people with mild depression.

Spanning patients aged five to 18, the therapy can be delivered on mobile phones, tablets or computers and can be made readily available, avoiding waiting lists and giving children and young people with continuing symptoms of mild depression faster access to psychological help.

In addition to group CBT, group interpersonal psychotherapy and group mindfulness are also recommended as first-line treatments, and the NICE committee highlighted the choice of treatment should be based on clinical need and patient and carer preferences wherever possible, taking into account the child or young person’s history and circumstances.

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is constantly evolving and the fact that young people are usually at the forefront of this change, updating this draft guidance is another step forward.”

She continued: “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.”

Digital CBT is already recommended for adults with mild to moderate depression.