Tablet computers are to be rolled out to selected therapists across England to use in sessions with children and young people thanks to new Government funding.

The computers will be used to boost children’s mental health services by helping to quickly tailor treatment to meet their needs and showing them what progress they have made.

Backed by a fund of nearly £2 million, children and young people will be able to use tablet computers in their therapy sessions to give them and their therapist instant access to information that details how close they are to achieving treatment goals while also tracking their progress.

Research shows that monitoring treatment outcomes and goals helps improve recovery rates in children and young people and increases satisfaction in services.
The new devices will be rolled out to 42 sites across England.

Therapists can also use the handheld computers to record sessions so that their supervisors and clinical tutors can watch and comment on their techniques to help them to improve.

The time therapists and administrators currently spend recording outcomes will also be cut.

Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb said: “Acting early to help children with mental health problems can prevent a lifetime of suffering as half of those with lifelong mental health problems first experience symptoms before the age of 14.

“This technology helps children and young people see how their treatment is progressing. Where treatment is not going as well as it could, practitioners can then change their approach to get the best results.

“Children and young people have told us how much it helps them to see how their treatment is going and these new devices do just that. I have seen this for myself in Oxford and talked to a teenager who had benefited.”

Chair of the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition, Barbara Rayment, welcomed the investment. “We hope this commitment will be matched by local decision-making in sustaining services to address their needs,” she said.

“Children and young people’s ability to access help quickly and easily is vital and we have been particularly pleased to see local voluntary sector counselling services becoming active partners in improving young people’s access to therapies. This investment in new technologies will offer benefits for everyone concerned to improve children and young people’s mental health.”