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18.10.16

NHS England offers £400,000 for mental health digital innovation

New funding will be available for digital innovations to improve mental healthcare as part of the programme of NHS reforms.

Six to eight innovators will take part in the Digital Development Lab, for which NHS England is providing £400,000 funding.

The innovations must address one of the following areas: early intervention and improving access; parenting; perinatal health; transitions to adulthood; and employment, education and training.

Juliet Bauer, director of digital experience at NHS England, said: “There are lots of digital technologies claiming to help people manage their mental health but it is hard for practitioners to assess their effectiveness and their safety for use.

“Using this fund we can rapidly develop and scale currently available, evidenced based tools. The Lab’s successes will mean more people can manage and care for their mental health using a set of high quality, evidence-based and safe digital tools with NHS endorsement.

“We’re particularly interested in tools that support the mental health of young people and families. This might include more self-care at home, managing conditions before they escalate and building mental resilience. It also means NHS commissioners will be able to update or newly commission digital products for their population with confidence.”

Increased support for digital technology is part of the Mental Health Forward View, published after the Mental Health Taskforce found serious failings in NHS mental healthcare provision.

The Digital Development Lab is run by mHabitat in partnership with MindTech and Social Spider. Participants will have the chance to access funding, mentoring, evaluation tools and peer support over seven months. The innovations could then be endorsed and nationally promoted by the NHS.

To be considered, innovations must already have an existing user basis, be a standalone tool which doesn’t require integration with a clinical pathway, and not include advertising.

The deadline for applications is 30 October 2016. To find out more, click here.

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become an NHE columnist? If so, click here.

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