Getting young people Doc Ready

12 September 2013

Ben Matthews, Head of Communications at FutureGov, describes the impact of the launch of new mental health app, Doc Ready:

Last week, I attended the launch event for Doc Ready, a website which will help young people get the most out of their GP appointments.  With only 52% of young people comfortable talking to GP about mental health, this shows the vital importance of the app.

This importance was echoed by the 40 people packed into the room at Space for Change in Brighton, including representatives from Mind, NHS, YMCA, Right Here, YouthNet and Brighton & Hove Council, showing how many people believe in the project and want to help Doc Ready make a real difference in the lives of young people.

Most importantly, several of the young people who had been involved in designing Doc Ready where there to see the finished results for themselves.

In case you haven’t had a look at it yet, Doc Ready is a website that is aiming to help young people get the most out of their GP appointments when it comes to dealing with a mental health issue. By preparing young people with an agenda, details about their appointment, and information about what to expect from a GP visit, we can help both the patients and the doctors get the most out of the limited resources and time that they have to share.

Susan Blishen from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation kicked off the speeches by explaining what the problems Doc Ready are addressing: Rates of mental ill-health among young people are on the increase; Adolescence and early adulthood are peak times for onset of mental ill-health and times when early care is strongly recommended; but young people have the lowest service access of any age group.

It was powerful to hear how the young people felt about this issue, and this was strengthened when Rob, one of the young people involved in the app development workshops, gave an honest speech about how he felt Doc Ready had turned out.

You could tell he was speaking from the heart when he said that normally this kind of initiative doesn’t work because the app designers dictate what they think will work. For him, the co-design process with young people and the enthusiastic feedback from those young people at the launch event showed just that.

For me, the best part of the launch event was seeing how everyone involved in the project really cared not just about the app, but creating a tool in collaboration with the young people it was aiming to help. This will hopefully ensure that young people use the app and GPs encourage them to use to use Doc Ready too.

Doc Ready, a collaborative effort between Neontribe, Social Spider and Enabled by Design and FutureGov, is the first product generated from the Innovation Labs, a partnership between Right Here (Paul Hamlyn Foundation and the Mental Health Foundation), Comic Relief and Nominet Trust, a project exploring how digital tools can be used to support and improve young people’s mental health.

To find out more about the app, and to try it for yourself, go to www.docready.org