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Supporting young people's mental health

The Innovation Labs Project is a partnership between Comic Relief, Nominet Trust and Right Here (Paul Hamlyn Foundation and the Mental Health Foundation). The aim of this UK-wide project is to work with young people aged 16-25, technology experts, youth workers and mental health professionals to explore how technology could better help young people look after their mental health.

The project began with a seven-month idea-generation process, delivered by Cernis and steered by a project team made up of the three partners and young people from Right Here, B-eat, Rethink Mental Illness and Dipex.  .

About 200 ideas were generated through two Innovation Labs events and a three-month online incubation period which involved  around 40 young people (16-25 years old) and about 60 technology, youth work and mental health professionals.

Gemma, Innovation Labs Young Board Member, said: “I'm enthusiastic about the project as it identifies a very current and urgent area of development. Social media is huge at the moment and currently there is very little to support young people and their mental health.

“I think this project has the power to educate, and give young people the chance to take responsibility for their mental wellbeing.

From these, eight ideas were selected and each is to be developed between February 2013 and June 2014 with around £47,000 in funding via this new programme.

Initially, seven of the ideas will be developed  by seven organisations (sometimes working with partners), including those spanning the youth, mental health, design, marketing and technology sectors.

  • Mind’s Eye: An online mood monitoring and wellbeing tool to maintain good mental health that reflects and links moods to young people’s everyday lives will be developed by Mindapples / Unboxed Consulting
  • Madlyinlove: A website dedicated to young people’s relationships and mental health issues, offering support and information to young people with mental health problems and their partners will be created by YouthNet
  • Doc Ready: A digital tool which will support young people to ensure that when they visit their GP they use their consultation time effectively will be created by Enabled By Design / Neontribe / Futuregov / Social Spider
  • Medfacts: A straightforward and reliable online information and advice service on how prescribed drugs may influence mental and physical health will be developed by YoungMinds / Tictoc
  • Keep the trust: A sympathetic online support, advice and informal training service that can be used to support adult non-health professionals, who have been identified by young people as influential or important people in their lives, will be built by  sixteen25 / Cernis
  • My Places: An online tool that maps local services and helps young people to identify reliable and trustworthy support networks, with the ability to rate services and leave feedback will be created by SussexCentral YMCA / VividBrighton / Right Here Brighton and Hove / Mind Brighton and Hove
  • MiniMe: An interactive recovery guide that uses personal information inputted by the user on their activity, environment and mood, with the ability to issue an alert to friends and family when in need of support: FACT (Foundation for Arts and Creative Technology) / RedNinja / Mersey Care NHS Trust

All organisations will be involving young people in the product development through co-design and co-production processes, and the Innovation Labs partners will work closely with grantees to create the Innovation Labs community and share learning from the product development amongst grantees and more widely.

Cernis have published a report outlining the methods and approaches adopted during phase 1 of the Innovation Labs Project to generate ideas around how technology can help young people look after their mental health. A copy can be downloaded here.