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Free mental health apps for care staff

19 May 2020

  • Big Health partners with the Care Provider Alliance to bring apps Daylight and Sleepio to everyone working in adult social care in England to support their mental health during the crisis 
  • Care providers across the UK can download mental health apps for free to help with sleep and anxiety during COVID-19 pandemic
  • Announcement is part of nationwide drive to ‘help care for our carers’, starting with workforce mental health

All staff and volunteers within adult social care providers can now access free apps to cope with insomnia and anxiety as part of a nationwide effort to help ‘care for our carers’ and support the mental health of the social care workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Health technology specialists Big Health and the Care Provider Alliance, the voice of England’s care providers, have today [19 May] announced a partnership to provide all 1.6 million members of the alliance and volunteers with evidence-based digital programmes to protect and support their mental health during the COVID-19 crisis. The digital programmes are designed to help maintain healthy and restorative sleep, reduce anxiety and worry, and to help them learn evidence-based techniques to address mental health issues when they arise.

The NHS-accredited apps Daylight - designed to help with worry and anxiety - and Sleepio - a digital sleep improvement programme, both featuring Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) techniques - have been developed by digital therapeutics company Big Health. This partnership builds on a recent announcement by NHS England to provide free access to Daylight and Sleepio to all NHS staff.

Following the recent news that a third of all coronavirus deaths in England are now happening in care homes, staff across the social care sector are being placed under enormous pressure to limit the spread of the virus, arrange intensive care for residents and cope with the loss of more occupants than usual, all whilst continuing to carry out their care responsibilities.

Big Health co-founder and Professor of Sleep Medicine at the University of Oxford, Professor Colin Espie, has praised the Care Provider Alliance for its commitment to protecting the mental health of care staff and volunteers during the pandemic.

Commenting on Big Health’s partnership with the Care Provider Alliance, Professor Espie said:

“I’m honoured that Big Health is able to partner with the Care Provider Alliance to support our colleagues and volunteers in the social care sector to help protect their mental health during these most challenging of times. With the whole care sector being so valuable to the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19 across the country, we recognise these staff are under enormous pressure whilst also experiencing significant changes to their lives at home as a result of COVID-19. We built Sleepio and Daylight to help people effectively manage their mental health whether the challenges occur during the night, or day, round the clock.”

Lisa Lenton, Care Provider Alliance Chair, added:

“We are delighted to partner with Big Health to help support the mental health of our key workers. Facing challenges such as a lack of PPE and concerns about their own personal health, care staff are under extraordinary pressure to deliver their services and keep people safe in these times. At the same time our colleagues are also managing their own personal lives, so it is vital they have the right support and resources to keep them mentally healthy. The evidence-based techniques Sleepio and Daylight offer will give our key workers instant access to the vital support they need so they can continue to deliver their high quality care services as well as manage any stress they may be experiencing in their personal lives due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Nicholas Kelly, Co-founder and CEO of Axela Innovations - a service provider member of one of the Care Provider Alliance’s 10 national bodies - said:

“Sleepio and Daylight are tools put together by experts that offer a variety of techniques to help people get to grips with poor sleep, negative thinking and worry. We feel that these programmes will provide a tangible benefit for our staff, to make them feel heard, that we understand their fears and that we’re giving them mechanisms to help them cope with their worries and issues around sleep patterns. We genuinely expect this to make a big difference to morale.”

Sleepio and Daylight are available at no cost to all members and volunteers of the Care Provider Alliance to support their mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. These solutions aim to support staff to maintain healthy and restorative sleep, reduce anxiety and worry, and to help them learn evidence-based techniques to address mental health issues when they arise.

Notes to editors§

About Big Health§

Big Health was co-founded in 2010 by former insomnia sufferer Peter Hames and world-renowned sleep expert Professor Colin Espie. Big Health creates automated evidence-based behavioural programmes using technology, thereby making them accessible to a wider audience. Big Health has worked with the NHS since the company was founded, with Sleepio being prescribed to patients via primary care and mental health services. The company is based in London and San Francisco. 

For more information on Big Health, please visit

About the Care Provider Alliance (CPA)§

The Care Provider Alliance (CPA) brings together the 10 main national associations which represent independent and voluntary adult social care providers in England.  We work to represent the sector and ensure a coordinated response to the major issues that affect it.

The Care Provider Alliance is an informal body with a rotating chair. Membership is of the representative associations with a national membership across the whole of England. However, some CPA members also represent services in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. Together our members provide care and support to 1.2 million people through residential, home-based and community services, whether commissioned by local authorities and the NHS or privately purchased. Together our members employ over 620,000 care workers.

Our members’ services include residential and nursing care, homecare, supported living and extra care housing, shared lives schemes, advocacy and telephone helplines. They support children, adults of working age and older people. 

See CPA’s information on coronavirus, which include resources on a dedicated mental health and wellbeing page. For more information on the Care Provider Alliance visit

About Sleepio§

Big Health’s first product, Sleepio, is a fully automated, highly personalised 6-week digital sleep improvement programme based on cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), available via the web and a mobile companion app on iOS. Sleepio users interact with The Prof, their virtual sleep expert, who teaches them evidence-based skills via 6 weekly video sessions. Sleepio is backed by clinical evidence from 12 published RCTs and 37 published papers. 

Over 100,000 users have accessed Sleepio in the UK. Users report improved sleep quality, mental health, workplace wellbeing and productivity, as well as reduced usage of prescription sleep medication and over-the-counter sleeping aids. Sleepio is CE marked, validated by NICE, and is NHS approved and featured on the NHS Apps Library.

About Daylight§

In line with Big Health’s commitment to clinical evidence, Daylight is now available for help with worry and anxiety due to highly promising results from initial studies. Daylight is a fully automated yet highly personalised mobile app based on cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) techniques for worry and anxiety. Daylight is a form of personalised self-help with specific guidance based on a user’s particular problematic thoughts, behaviours, and responses to worry and anxiety. The programme teaches users a range of techniques and guides them through daily practice sessions. Daylight is NHS Digital Approved by Digital Assessment Questions.


For further information, please contact Julia Simac at ZPB Associates on 07834 523001 or at