£600,000 funding to develop digital tools to support young people’s mental health

Release Date: 27 July 2012

Source: Mental Health Foundation

Country: United Kingdom

Today Comic Relief, Nominet Trust and Right Here (Paul Hamlyn Foundation and the Mental Health Foundation) are announcing a new £600,000 funding programme. The funding will be available to charity-led initiatives to develop any one of eight new digital products that will better help young people look after their mental health and wellbeing.

The eight ideas have been generated jointly by young people, technology experts, youth workers and mental health professionals through the Innovation Labs Project which ran from Oct 2011 – April 2012.
Not for profit organisations can apply to develop any or all of the eight ideas and can work with a private partner, provided they are leading the project.

The eight ideas are:
1. Mind’s Eye: An online mood monitoring & wellbeing tool reflecting and linking mood to young people’s lives.
2. Madlyinlove: A website dedicated to love and mental health issues – for young people with mental health problems and their partners.
3. Doc Ready: A digital tool to support young people visiting their GP to ensure they use their consultation time effectively.
4. Medfacts: Easy to understand and reliable online information and advice on how prescribed drugs may influence mental and physical health (including side effects) plus simple explanations of how the medications work.
5. Keep the trust: Sympathetic online support, advice and informal training for adult non-health professionals identified by young people (i.e. youth workers and teachers) around young people's mental health and wellbeing.
6. My Places: Online mapping of services available locally to a young person to assist them in ensuring good mental health and wellbeing with ability for services to be rated and have feedback.  
7. MiniMe (formerly Tamagotchi & Me / Crisis): A personal interactive recovery guide using information inputted by the user on their activity, environment and mood with the ability to issue an alert to friends & family of the need for support.
8. Job for Me: Online service to support young people with / recovering from mental health issues on their journey employment, education, and training.

The development of young people’s mental health and wellbeing is at the heart of the project, and further funding from the partners will help to get young people directly involved in the decision-making process. Evaluation work will also be undertaken to review learning and good practice from developing and implementing the new ideas.

Young people will help ensure that services fully meet their needs by participating in the grant-making and product development/ implementation processes over the next two years.

Annika Small, CEO of Nominet Trust explains: “We are always looking for projects which demonstrate the power of digital technology to change lives for the better. This programme presents a real opportunity to work with young people to develop the digital tools they need to transform their lives in practical ways. It will take the ideas of young people with mental health issues and make them happen.”

Susan Blishen, Right Here Project Manager adds: "Paul Hamlyn Foundation and the Mental Health Foundation, through the national Right Here programme, are committed to giving young people a voice and a choice in the way that services look after their mental health.  The Innovation Labs initiative is an exciting new development which will see a suite of digital products, conceived and developed by young people themselves, which will be accessible and effective in supporting the emotional wellbeing of thousands of young people across the UK."

Gilly Green, Comic Relief’s Head of UK Grants says: “Comic Relief is pleased to work in collaboration with other funders on this new programme which has young people at its heart and will support the voluntary and community sector in using digital technology for innovative service delivery.”

Cernis have published a report outlining the methods and approaches adopted during phase 1 of the Innovation Labs Project to generate ideas around how technology can help young people look after their mental health. A copy can be downloaded here.

The Invitation to Apply document alongside the Functional Specs for each of the eight product ideas can be found at www.innovationlabs.org.uk

Funding will be allocated around £47K per idea and the deadline for Expressions of Interest is 12 noon on Wednesday 5 September 2012. The grants can start being spent from January 2013 and must be fully spent by June 2014.