eMEN digital mental health European project

We are championing better mental health through increased use of digital health interventions, in a six-country European Union partnership.

Key information

  • Partner countries: UK, Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Ireland and France.
  • Funder: Interreg North-West Europe Innovation Programme
  • Funding: €5.3 million (£4.4 million)
  • Timescale: May 2016 – June 2019
  • Contact: Iris Elliott, Head of Policy and Research at the Mental Health Foundation, on ielliott@mentalhealth.org.uk

Through the project we are inviting governments, service providers, healthcare professionals service users, policy makers and e-mental health developers across the UK to:

  • promote digital health
  • host and participate in project events
  • support the testing of e-interventions
  • develop policy levers.

Outputs will be relevant across the UK and will be tailored to the particular contexts of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Why digital mental health?

Mental health is a common and growing economic, social and health challenge across the UK. It is a high priority for the Westminster government and the governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Demand for mental health care outpaces provision. Increasingly, attention is focused on preventing mental health problems from developing and escalating, and empowering people to self-manage their mental health.

Having accessible, timely and quality-assured support can be hard for people who are managing mental health problems at different stages of their life: while continuing their education, holding down a job, or parenting their family. People living in rural areas experience specific barriers to receiving the right support at the right time.

Innovative and high quality e-mental health products and services can substantially contribute to ensuring that services are available, accessible, appropriate and affordable for all. E-mental health presents significant business opportunities particularly for SMEs.

Benefits of participation

  • Access to international e-mental health innovation, testing and implementation.
  • Knowledge exchange and network development for e-mental health leaders.
  • Guidance on common quality standards for e-mental health interventions.
  • Enhanced knowledge about clinical governance systems.
  • Capacity building for the health and social care work force.
  • Increased awareness of and support for e-mental health amongst key stakeholders.
  • Enterprise opportunities for SME developers.
  • More effective and large-scale take-up of e-mental health therapy.
  • A sustainable, post-project e-mental health policy agenda and business plan for the Westminster, Holyrood, Senned and Stormont Governments. 

Project outputs

Partner organisations involved in the project bring a range of technological, clinical, research and policy expertise to aid the delivery of:

  • 1 transnational cooperation platform for e-mental health innovation, testing and knowledge including a UK subdivision, tailored to England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland; 
  • 1 new research method and test protocol for evidence based e-mental health interventions; and standardised testing for showing quality and effectiveness of e-mental health products; 
  • 5 high quality existing e-mental health products, further developed and tested (for depression, anxiety and PTSD / psycho trauma; at least one tested in the UK with 1500 end users);
  • 15 SMEs receiving dedicated support and engagement with e-mental health developers across the 6 countries; 
  • 6 thematic conferences (one in the UK, with a minimum of 250 participants) and transnational and thematic seminars (three in the UK, with a minimum of 120 participants). These will be held in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
  • 1 business plan for post-project platform network with a joint European strategy and a strategy for each partner country (tailored in the UK for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland with baseline assessment and end measurement with e-mental health indicators);
  • 3 research publications on: the multidisciplinary product development process; innovative, cost-effective ‘evidence based’ research methods for e-mental health products; and ‘evidence based’ testing results of the 5 products.

What the project will achieve?

Currently, the average use of e-mental health within the partner countries is 8% (the lowest being France at 1% and the highest the Netherlands at 15%). The average will have increased to:

  • 15% by the end of the project
  • at least 25% five years after the project finishes
  • 60% 10 years after the project finishes.

The EU average for unmet need is currently 6.8%; this will be reduced by 2% five years after the projects and by 4% 10 years afterwards.

More information

Email Iris Elliott, Head of Policy and Research at the Mental Health Foundation, on ielliott@mentalhealth.org.uk.