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Digital Focus on Young People's Mental Health

The Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, in collaboration with a technology development firm, has won an innovation competition for children and young people’s mental health.

The Centre will be working with Advanced Digital Institute (ADI) to develop a new, smart technology platform, in collaboration by school children, families, and professionals in Leeds and Liverpool.

The platform will host a number of apps, all aiming to  support young people struggling with mental health issues and giving them access to a wide range of professional resources and services.

Following the success of an initial prototype, NHS England’s Small Business Research Initiative Healthcare programme contracted ADI to develop a full–scale “open outreach” digital system. It will be available nationally and will incorporate a number of the best apps in this area.

Elements of the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families' IncludeME tool will inform the design of the system. IncludeME was developed to provide children and young person and those supporting them with an online, interactive toolbox, designed to promote collaborative ways of working and shared decision making across mental health services.

The Centre will also lead on a process to review and quality assure additional third party apps with the potential for them to be integrated into the CO-OP platform.

Dr Miranda Wolpert, Director of Service Improvement and Evaluation at the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, said: “The Centre are delighted to be part of this important work that builds on work they have been doing to use digital technology to support shared decision making and informed choice for young people accessing mental health services.”

John Eaglesham, CEO of ADI, commented: "The issue of young peoples' mental health has been in the news recently and new approaches are required to tackle the problem.

"Digital health technologies are increasingly being incorporated into mainstream health delivery however this particular platform links up social services, education and health services with the end user. We see this as helping to create a digitally-enabled shift from “institution-centred” to “person-centred” services, which will provide supports and resources centred around the young person and their family that they can control and use on their own terms.”