MET OFFICE News
Release issued by COI News Distribution Service. 15 January 2009
Help is at hand
for those badly affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
caused by low levels of natural light.
Developing technology from the Met Office means that accurate
forecasts of light levels are being used in a trial to help people
with this common mental health problem during the dark winter months.
Registered patients are being invited to sign up for a pilot
scheme in Cornwall that will test out the new health forecasting service.
'Brighter Outlook' is the project bringing together the
Met Office, Outlook South West and NHS Cornwall and Isles of Scilly.
Initially, the scheme will seek to evaluate the effect for 200
people who sign up for the programme, and will run form 1st
February 2009 for three months. If successful, the project will be
extended to a larger number of people in the autumn.
Dr Tish Laing-Morton, Met Office clinical director said:
"Our knowledge of the link between the weather and our health
is becoming deeper and this latest initiative is one more example
of how we can help people manage their condition to remain well.
We hope this pilot brings real benefit and provides the platform
to extend schemes to even more people."
Kevin Simpson, Partner at Outlook South West and Chartered
Clinical Psychologist said ' We are very excited about this
project. Outlook South West provides psychological therapy to over
12,000 people in Cornwall and we encounter many people for whom
the weather over the winter months is a serious issue. This pilot
scheme combines innovative emerging science developed by the Met
Office with evidence based practice that we are confident will
deliver measurable health benefits to the people of Cornwall'.
Note to Editors:
* The Met Office is the UK's National Weather Service,
providing 24x7 world-renowned scientific excellence in weather,
climate and environmental forecasts and severe weather warnings
for the protection of life and property.
* The Met Office Hadley Centre is the UK's foremost centre
for climate change research. Partly funded by Defra (the
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) and the
Ministry of Defence.
* Participants who sign up for the scheme receive an assessment
from a psychological therapist, portable light box and cognitive
behavioural therapy self-help information. An email, SMS text
message or an automated phone message will alert members to
periods of reduced light levels, advising them to begin or
continue light treatment, while making use of the self-help material.
For more information please contact the Met Office Press Office
on 01392 886655