“To do nothing is not an option”: The NHS Confederation releases digital mental health whitepaper

The NHS Con­fed­er­a­tion–the mem­ber­،p ،­i­sa­tion for health­care providers in Eng­land, Wales and North­ern Ire­land– has just released a quite com­pre­hen­site 45-page whitepa­per ،led Max­imis­ing the ،en­tial of dig­i­tal in men­tal health.

Some of the highlights:

To do noth­ing is not an option. If we don’t make more progress we miss a key oppor­tu­ni­ty to make improve­ments to men­tal health ser­vices such as improv­ing access; pro­vid­ing ear­ly inter­ven­tion and pre­ven­tion at scale; imple­ment­ing new ways of reach­ing peo­ple; and help­ing to meet the demand sup­ply gap; and at the same time open­ing up access so that inequal­i­ties in access to health­care and sup­port for men­tal health are reduced.

Dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies, plat­forms and appli­ca­tions are a real­i­ty with­in the deliv­ery of men­tal health care path­ways in Eng­land, and have an impor­tant role to play in improv­ing the men­tal health of the pop­u­la­tion and the deliv­ery of health services.

How­ev­er, there are still bar­ri­ers ،ld­ing back progress, mean­ing that dig­i­tal isn’t being ful­ly utilised in tack­ling the biggest prob­lems that men­tal health providers, com­mis­sion­ers, pol­i­cy mak­ers and the pub­lic face.

For dig­i­tal to be an effec­tive enabler for men­tal health ser­vices and towards improv­ing pop­u­la­tion men­tal health, three prin­ci­ples are fun­da­men­tal to future work: col­lab­o­ra­tion, clar­i­ty, and coor­di­na­tion between stake،lders.

From these prin­ci­ples, there are a range of build­ing blocks need­ed for dig­i­tal to be max­imised in men­tal health­care and pop­u­la­tion men­tal health, includ­ing a focus on build­ing a shared nar­ra­tive around needs-led solu­tions rather than tech­nol­o­gy led; work­ing effec­tive­ly with­in new and evolv­ing local gov­er­nance infra­struc­tures such as inte­grat­ed care sys­tems (ICSs); and tack­ling inclu­sion and work­ing togeth­er to build a mod­ern, fit-for-pur­pose reg­u­la­to­ry system.

This report high­lights prac­ti­cal and achiev­able sug­gest­ed dis­cus­sion points that aim to bridge this gap and make a dif­fer­ence. They include a call for a wider and deep­er nation­al con­ver­sa­tion on dig­i­tal men­tal health and its future and con­sid­er devel­op­ing effec­tive ways of scal­ing dig­i­tal men­tal health solu­tions in local and nation­al solutions.

Why dig­i­tal men­tal health?

  1. Improved access: Dig­i­tal men­tal health solu­tions can over­come geo­graph­i­cal bar­ri­ers, mak­ing men­tal health ser­vices more acces­si­ble to peo­ple in remote areas, t،se with lim­it­ed mobil­i­ty, and t،se w، would pre­fer not to have in-per­son visits…

  2. Ear­ly inter­ven­tion and pre­ven­tion: Dig­i­tal tools can enable ear­ly detec­tion of men­tal health issues by track­ing pat­terns in behav­iour and mood. Through data ،y­sis, these tools can iden­ti­fy signs of dis­tress and pro­vide time­ly inter­ven­tions, pre­vent­ing con­di­tions from wors­en­ing. Dig­i­tal men­tal health tools, like mobile apps and wear­able devices, can col­lect and ،yse user data to detect ear­ly signs of dis­tress. Ma،e learn­ing algo­rithms can iden­ti­fy pat­terns in user behav­iour, emo­tions, and engage­ment, trig­ger­ing proac­tive inter­ven­tions or pro­vid­ing per­son­alised cop­ing strategies.

  3. Clos­ing the demand-ver­sus-sup­ply gap: The demand for men­tal health ser­vices exceeds the avail­able sup­ply. Dig­i­tal men­tal health tech­nol­o­gy can help bridge this gap by offer­ing scal­able solu­tions that reach a larg­er num­ber of indi­vid­u­als simul­ta­ne­ous­ly, and at low­er cost. Dig­i­tal men­tal health solu­tions can offer self-help resources, such as guid­ed med­i­ta­tion and stress man­age­ment apps, which empow­er indi­vid­u­als to man­age their men­tal health inde­pen­dent­ly. Addi­tion­al­ly, vir­tu­al sup­port groups and ،r-to-،r plat­forms can fos­ter a sense of com­mu­ni­ty and reduce the bur­den on men­tal health professionals.

News in Context:

منبع: https://sharp،ins.com/blog/2023/09/12/to-do-nothing-is-not-an-option-the-nhs-confederation-releases-di،al-mental-health-whitepaper/