Tech ideas needed to support young people’s mental health

Creative England is offering charities, individuals and organisations the chance to gain technical, funding and marketing support for ideas that help young people’s mental health needs.

Joe Lepper | 6th Mar 19
Image shows young people in black and white

An initiative has been launched to help fund and support creative ideas for using digital technology to support young people’s mental health.

Create Open Health aims to offer access to investment as well as tech, marketing and sales support to charities, individuals and other organisations with a strong tech idea around young people’s mental health.

Ideas are being sought around a wide range of mental health issues, including helping schools spotting problems early, promoting social inclusion and accessing care and information.

The initiative is being spearheaded by non-profit group Creative England, which supports digital and creative sectors. Also involved are the Wellcome Trust, Bristol and South Gloucestershire based young people’s mental health support charity Off the Record and West of England Academic Health Science Network (AHSN).

Two-day bootcamp

The deadline for submissions is midnight March 31 with shortlisted applicants invited to a two-day “bootcamp” in Bristol in April to focus on areas such as business and product development as well as implementing innovation in the healthcare sector. All applicants must be UK based.

The two-day bootcamp is being organised by technology and software specialists, Simpleweb, and digital marketing and business development consultancy, Disruptive Thinking.

Lars Sundstrom, AHSN Director of Innovation and Growth, said: “We are passionate about making innovation relevant to everyone and working with end users in the co-production of new products and services.

“Create Open Health breaks new ground as a fertile environment for innovation, allowing the insourcing of ideas across a wide sector of expertise.

“We are strong advocates of both of these things and by bringing them together in one initiative, we will be able to build on our experience and that of our partners in a common objective to share knowledge and pool expertise.”

Tim Evans, Creative England Investment Manager, added: “With this programme, we hope to tap into the vast wealth of knowledge and experience of our healthcare industry and help develop solutions that can have a real impact on the mental wellbeing of children and young people in the UK.

“These ideas and solutions can be conceptual, or they can already be in place and in need of support to develop them further. Above all, applicants should be passionate about bringing their ideas to life and, by doing so, want to make a genuine social impact.”

Virtual reality innovation

Current tech innovations to support children’s mental health include the Children’s Society’s Reality Check project, which creates an immersive virtual reality environment to help children overcome anxiety and depression. This was one of four initiatives to win a best non-profit prize at this year’s inaugural Vodafone Techstarter awards.