NHS Gloucestershire have developed a new service for young people struggling with their mental health, ultimately aiming to improve the problem in the region, as the NHS looks to mitigate a backlog in mental health care.
Young people seeking answers to their “difficult” mental health questions can now do so with the launch of a new digital support-finder to act as a single front door for young people’s mental health services.
The service aims to make it easier to understand, find and access support, whilst giving young people more choice and control in their care and health practitioners accurate advice and signposting to referral services.
The support finder guides people through a series of questions to understand how they are feeling and what support might be needed. Users are then directed to the most relevant service for their needs and given useful support information about mental health.
The results are then available to young people, their parents and carers via the website and SMS. Providing SMS access was an important element of the service. NHS Gloucestershire say: “It needed to be accessible and secure for any child or young person to use, regardless of their access to a computer.”
Helen Ford, who is the Programme Director for Integrated Commissioning at NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group said: “Young people often find asking for help with mental health difficult. Our new resource acts as a virtual helping hand to guide people to the right support.”
She added: “The support-finder allows children and young people to make informed choices about the services they use. While we developed the resource with young people in mind, we expect a range of professionals, parents and carers to use it too.”
The service is said to have been designed with security at its core, making sure users’ data is protected. The baseline architecture and codebase was developed under open standards principles and is available to other NHS trusts to use for free. This lets trusts with similar patient needs to reuse and adapt the solution, without vendor lock-in.
The service is now live and available to access here.