Dr Joanna Hudson

Dr Joanna Hudson


About Dr Joanna Hudson

Dr Joanna Hudson began her career working as an Improving Access to Psychological Therapy (IAPT) practitioner. When working in IAPT, it became clear to her how much a person’s physical health condition can impact upon emotional well-being and vice versa. At that time, Dr Hudson was not aware of any evidence-based cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) treatments to manage the challenge of mental and physical co-morbidity. Digital health can help increase the reach of CBT for distress in the context of illness.

Over the last ten years, Dr Hudson worked collaboratively with amazing colleagues researching and developing CBT treatments for managing distress in the context of illness.




Problem: COMPASS aims to the meet the needs of people with Long Term Care (LTCs) experiencing symptoms of depression and/or anxiety in response to their LTC.

An estimated 30% of people with LTCs have comorbid mental health conditions. However, people with LTCs experience barriers accessing mental health care. These include: LTC clients not identifying with the label depression/anxiety and therefore not seeking help, existing evidence-based treatments for depression/anxiety not taking account of the LTC, people with LTCs facing high treatment burden and burnout.

Solution: COMPASS online cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) seeks to address the above barriers. COMPASS supports clients in navigating the challenges that come with having a long-term condition. It was co-developed by people with LTCs to ensure that the language used would not prevent access. The name COMPASS was chosen by LTC clients. COMPASS targets symptoms of depression/anxiety in the context of a LTC rather than seeing a person’s mental health condition as separate from their physical health. Lastly, because COMPASS is a digital health tool it can be used flexibly and does not require face-to-face appointments.

Scale: Dr Hudson will implement in Southwark IAPT which receives 600 referrals per month of which a third include clients with LTCs. The project will also be implemented in St Thomas’ secondary care congenital heart disease team which is a new service launching in February 2019 therefore figures cannot be provide as of yet.

Desired impact: Aim to increase access to mental health care by providing access to digital health products which meet LTC client needs. Hope that COMPASS will sustain engagement and improve mental health outcomes.

Progress to date: COMPASS was deployed to live site on 17th January and planned to start implementing on 4th February once standard operating procedures has been signed off by all parties.