Bright ideas to help shape future mental health services

A new short film showcases young people’s ideas for improving mental health services, developed at our Mental Health Hackathon earlier this year.

Their solutions include apps to improve the lives of young people living with mental health conditions, increasing education of mental health within the school curriculum and a website that provides one-to-one communication between service users and medical professionals.

Watch the film to hear from the participants, and their inspirational work to innovate mental health care, responding to real problems faced by young people accessing services.

Eastern AHSN ran the Mental Health Hackathon with the East of England Citizen’s Senate and Form the Future, and invited young people aged 14-25 across the eastern region to explore how to shape local health services. They heard from health professionals and patient leaders sharing personal experiences of mental health issues, before tackling a key challenge in their project groups and pitching their ideas to the judges.

One of the judges – Helen Oliver, Programme Director at Eastern AHSN, said: “We wanted a way to engage with young people across the eastern region who feel strongly about our health services and want to influence how they develop.

“The focus on mental health reflects a subject of great concern to people in this age group and the hackathon gave them a chance to deploy their creativity and ingenuity in a really productive way. We were really impressed by their energy and contributions, and all of their great ideas are shared in this film as a resource for mental health providers and commissioners.”

Anne Bailey, Co-founder and Director of Form the Future CIC, added: “Events like this hackathon benefit everyone. The young people get insight into the workings of the NHS and the chance to contribute to shaping health services, while the NHS gets to learn from young people, with their unique perspectives.

“We are excited to see what ideas and changes the NHS may be able to develop and implement, and hope that the passionate young people who took part will pave the way for change.”

The challenge:

  • How can we improve the experience of services for young people with mental health problems?

The solutions:

  • A two-way communication portal that allows patients access to their detailed medical notes so they can contribute their own observations and notes when they want to, co-produce a diary document with the clinician and take responsibility for their care.
  • Integrating mental health education into the school curriculum through lessons, plays and productions, assemblies and external speakers.
  • An app to introduce patients to their care team before their first appointment, designed to help patients open up to strangers and provide a visual guide to help patients understand the roles of the team and how they work together.
  • An app for young children (primary school) to help them understand and identify emotions, helping them learn about and engage with emotions in a helpful way using gamification and storing data to help identify patterns in behaviour.


Posted in: Community Projects, Improvement, News, Self-care
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