Seven organisations have been awarded grants worth £375,000 to help develop digital products to support young people’s mental health.
The grant has been made by the Innovation Labs Project, a partnership between Comic Relief, Nominet Trust, Paul Hamlyn Foundation and the Mental Health Foundation.
Mental health problems affect about 1 in 10 children and young people, according to the Mental Health Foundation. They include depression, anxiety and conduct disorder, and are often a direct response to what is happening in their lives.
For the Innovation Labs project, young people have worked with mental health and digital professionals to co-design the ideas that will be developed. All ideas utilise digital technology to provide personalised services and support.
The products to be developed are:
• Mind’s Eye: An online mood monitoring and wellbeing tool to maintain good mental health that reflects and links moods to young people’s everyday lives. It will be developed by Mindapples and Unboxed Consulting
• Madlyinlove: A website dedicated to young people’s relationships and mental health issues, offering support and information to young people with mental health problems and their partners. It will be created by YouthNet
• Doc Ready: A digital tool that will support young people to ensure that when they visit their GP they use their consultation time effectively. Enabled By Design, Neontribe, Futuregov and Social Spider will develop it
• Medfacts: A straightforward and reliable online information and advice service on how prescribed drugs may influence mental and physical health. YoungMinds and Tictoc will develop it
• Keep the trust: An online support, advice and informal training service that can be used to support adult non-health professionals, who have been identified by young people as influential or important people in their lives. This will be built by sixteen25 and Cernis
• My Places: An online tool that maps local services and helps young people to identify reliable and trustworthy support networks, with the ability to rate services and leave feedback. SussexCentral YMCA, VividBrighton, Right Here Brighton and Hove and Mind Brighton and Hove will create it
• MiniMe: An interactive recovery guide that uses personal information provided by the user on their activity, environment and mood, with the ability to issue an alert to friends and family when in need of support: FACT (Foundation for Arts and Creative Technology), RedNinja and Mersey Care NHS Trust will create it.
The 7 products will be developed between February 2013 and June 2014.
Gemma, an Innovation Labs Young Board Member, said: “I'm enthusiastic about the project as it identifies a very current and urgent area of development. Social media is huge at the moment and currently there is very little to support young people and their mental health.
“I think this project has the power to educate, and give young people the chance to take responsibility for their mental wellbeing.”
All organisations will be involving young people in the product development through co-design and co-production processes, and the Innovation Labs partners will work closely with grantees to create the Innovation Labs community and share learning from the product development among grantees and more widely.
Annika Small, chief executive of Nominet Trust, said: “It has been fascinating to watch this programme unfold. The starting point for the Innovation Labs was to engage young people with mental health issues and connect them with youth workers, mental health professionals and technology experts to develop ways to improve mental wellbeing.
“Nominet Trust is passionate about digital technology as a force for social good so we are delighted to see the culmination of the Innovation Labs’ co-design process: the development of a suite of digital apps that has the potential to transform the lives of young people with mental health problems.”