Internet-enabled cognitive behavioural therapy (ie-CBT) provider Ieso Digital Health has announced a clinical trial to measure the effects of online, diabetes-focused CBT on patients with type II diabetes.

The study will help Ieso understand more about treating a mental health condition in the context of diabetes, and whether this will have a positive impact on mental wellbeing and diabetes management for patients.

Participants in the study will need to live in England, be over 19 and have been diagnosed with type II diabetes for at least a year. They will receive between four and 12 sessions of ie-CBT with their allocated therapist, and will be assessed at the end of their treatment and then six months later to measure the impact it has had.

Ieso currently provides ie-CBT to 74 NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups across England and Scotland, and has treated 50,000 patients through its ThinkWell platform. Many patients referred for CBT live with a chronic illness but there is a shortage of therapists available to provide tailored treatment in these cases.

Mental health issues are far more prevalent among diabetics than the general population, with 25% reported to live with depression and 40% with anxiety.

Ieso Digital Health chief clinical officer Sarah Bateup said: “There is a prevalence of stress, depression and anxiety amongst patients that have also been diagnosed with a long-term, physical condition, such as type 2 diabetes. Although all of our therapists receive thorough training to understand all elements of mental health, it is much more difficult to adapt to patients’ specific needs unless they know more about the condition and how to adapt in the best way.

“Rather than simply extend our service with a tailored treatment, we felt it imperative to run a clinical trial first to test the training and understand the treatment benefits patients can expect before offering a full service to our NHS partners.”

The research is being conducted with support from Roche Diabetes Care.