10-16 May was Mental Health Awareness Week. The AHSN Network supported the campaign by sharing two news stories about our national programmes that support mental health patients, Early Intervention Eating Disorders and Focus ADHD, as well as blogs from innovations we support, to highlight our work in this space and raise awareness of mental health conditions.
Supporting patients with eating disorders
In the first year of a new AHSN Network-backed programme, more than 260 patients with an eating disorder have been supported through the Early Intervention Eating Disorders model.
The programme is an innovative, evidence-based, specialist care package for 16 to 25-year-olds with a first episode eating disorder of less than three years duration.
Between 600,000 and 725,000 people in the UK have one or more eating disorders. That figure has risen during the coronavirus (COVID-19) government enforced lockdowns. Eating disorder charity Beat reported a 173% increase in demand for support between February 2020 and January 2021.
Developed by Health Innovation Network (HIN) members, King’s College London and South London and Maudsley NHS Trust, the programme overcomes barriers to early treatment and recovery. The model provides highly co-ordinated early care, with a central focus on reducing the duration of an untreated eating disorder. The programme is much more effective than traditional treatments at reversing the changes to brain, body and behaviour caused by eating disorders. Find out more.
Supporting children with ADHD assessment
In the last 12 months, nearly 10,000 children across England have had an objective assessment for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), using AHSN-supported technology.
ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder and affects around 5% of school-aged children worldwide. Symptoms include inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness. If undiagnosed and/or untreated ADHD can have a significant impact on personal development, academic outcomes, and social interaction. Mental health charity Mind also indicate that those with ADHD are more likely to experience a mental health problem.
Focus ADHD, the AHSN Network national programme, uses technology created by international health technology company Qbtech Ltd. The QbTest is a computer-based test that simultaneously measures the key symptoms of ADHD, and when added to the diagnostic process can reduce time to decision by approximately five months (153 days).
The results are instantly analysed and presented in a report that compares a patients’ results against a normative dataset, based on age and gender. Find out more.
Developing young people’s mental resilience with ProReal
To mark Mental Health Awareness Week, we chatted with Andrew Jackson, CEO of ProReal. The avatar software helps young people to express difficult thoughts and feelings and uses virtual world technology to help people visualise their issues, to label emotions and see things from different perspectives. The innovation has been supported by the West of England AHSN.
Andrew blogs about his drive to help young people learn better resilience strategies. Read the full story.
Reaching people with safe and secure messaging with ChatHealth
We also spoke with Caroline Palmer, Clinical Lead of ChatHealth, which is a safe and secure messaging platform that’s available to more than 2.8 million young people and the parents and carers of over 2.6 million children in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It provides sexual health, perinatal mental health and young people’s mental health services.
Connected with 14 of the 15 AHSNs, with 100% uptake in public health services in the East Midlands and East of England, ChatHealth is completely anonymous, meaning it reaches out to often seldom heard and vulnerable groups. Read the full story.