Blog: What is it like to be a Digital STaR worker?

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SilverCloud is the digital side of the IAPT service and consists of a range of online CBT-based programmes created to help people manage mild and moderate depression, anxiety and/or stress. The current digital Support, Time and Recovery team has 6 members, Diane, Jo, Natalie, Lianne, Shannon, and Alina.

As digital STaRs, our main aim is to support clients during their SilverCloud journey. Our main tools are the online reviews we provide to the clients on a fortnightly basis. However, we all believe in a hands-on approach and like to explore other ways of supporting the clients and the service, such as initiating phone calls to encourage engagement, as well as recommending offline tools clients might find beneficial.

Occasionally, we would suggest relaxation apps, additional modules and make referrals to partner agencies that might help our clients with specific issues such as employment, housing, debt etc. We have also been doing a lot of marketing work to spread the word about the service and to make sure it reaches those who need psychological support and are not able to access face to face therapy. We very much enjoy talking to businesses, other charities and public services whose employees might benefit from accessing the digital IAPT service. It’s very encouraging to see how open everyone is. The free, confidential, zero waiting list service that does not require a GP referral makes most people to give it a go. All one needs is internet connection and a few hours a week to work through the modules.

Here is what our Digital STaR team says about SilverCloud:

“SilverCloud is an amazingly flexible wellbeing tool – as a user, you have a lot of control over the therapeutic process. You decide when and what you work on, you choose the pace that feels right and the tools that work best for you. Of course, I enjoy it when clients are messaging and sharing their thoughts with me, the supporter, but I am aware that even this is an option they are free to try or pass, and I always respect that. They can really do it their way. ” – Alina, digital STaR worker

“SilverCloud contains many practical exercises and gives the user a useful toolbox of skills. These range from practical skills, such as, setting effective goals to interactive relaxation techniques.  I particularly like the ‘Time management: the four quadrants approach’ in the Space from Stress programme.  This helps to prioritise what is really important helping to reduce overwhelm. From a personal perspective, I get a great sense of achievement being a supporter helping to motivate and empower others to make positive changes in their lives.” Jo, digital STaR worker

“SilverCloud fits in very well with today’s busy lifestyles. Particularly, if you work full time or have young children, you have the choice to log on anytime you like in comparison to other mental health services where you have to try schedule in a set time which can be tricky at times. I think the brilliant thing about SilverCloud is that it is really empowering individuals to help themselves and build the techniques and thought processes into their own lives. It is lovely for me to see clients recognising how far they have come and realising that truly that is down to them and their hard work!” – Lianne – Digital STaR Worker

In addition to the digital side, some of us take on STaR work as well, which means practical support for clients who receive or are waiting therapy with Health in Mind. 

The fact that we can do a bit of both is very helpful and these two sides of the service support each other well. If you have a bag of practical knowledge, then you can support your SilverCloud clients in more ways than one. Let’s say someone has financial difficulties and they struggle with depression. Being in debt will impact the way they feel on a daily basis, as well as the way they respond to SilverCloud. Pointing them in the right direction to address the debt issue will help them free themselves from a major cause of stress and it will also help them build a stronger, trust-based connection with you, their supporter. They learn that you are more than a person behind a keypad and your support goes beyond the online platform. This is something we all need sometimes – to know that there is someone there for us, able to listen and to go along with us when exploring our options and making our choices.

If you live or work in Mid Essex and would like to try SilverCloud, you can create an account here.