Professor Chris Hollis, Director of MindTech (NIHR Healthcare Technology Co-operative), Institute of Mental Health responds to Nick Clegg's pledge on waiting times for mental health announced today.
Professor Hollis said:
"We welcome Nick Clegg's pledge on waiting times for mental health. Promising parity of funding and waiting time targets is an important first step in closing the gap between physical and mental healthcare delivery. With only one in four people with serious mental health problems currently accessing treatment, the challenge is huge and requires a bold response. At the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) we are supporting a wider transformation of mental health services through new digital technology to make help more accessible, flexible and timely for people with mental health problems."
"Based at the Institute and funded by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR), MindTech www.mindtech.org.uk is a new national clinical and research network that aims to accelerate the development and adoption of new digital technologies. Examples include apps for self-management and monitoring, on-line therapy and consultations and on-line support through secure social media. These technologies can revolutionise mental healthcare by providing support and evidenced based interventions 'anytime, anywhere' in a way that people already access banking, retail services and social media.
NIHR funded CLAHRC East Midlands and AHSN East Midlands also based at the Institute have developed and are now implementing evidence based interventions that would improve the reach, efficiency and cost effectiveness of interventions for mental health to meet the need highlighted by Nick Clegg. Key to all of these is a user designed and recovery based focus that enables service users and clinicians to develop interventions that they would be prepared to use.
The potential impact of technological innovation in mental healthcare for delivering more efficient, accessible and effective services was highlighted in the recent annual report from Dame Sally Davies, the Government's Chief Medical Officer . MindTech are hosting a National Symposium on Technology in Mental Healthcare in London on Monday 24th November – for details see www.mindtech.org.uk"
1.Hollis et al. (2014) Technological Innovations in Mental Healthcare. In: Annual report of the Chief Medical Officer 2013, Public mental health priorities: investing in the evidence. DoH, London