This week, 9-15th May 2022, is Mental Health Awareness Week. Started by the Mental Health Foundation in 2001, Mental Health Awareness Week is an important campaign which aims to shed light on mental health problems, as well as practical tips and advice about how to cope with them.
This year, Mental Health Awareness Week is focusing on the impact of loneliness on our mental health. According to estimates, one in four people experience loneliness either some or all of the time. Loneliness brings with it many negative emotions, and people that feel lonely are at risk of developing other mental health problems. Loneliness is an issue which has been brought into the spotlight since the onset of the pandemic, when many people found themselves particularly isolated and without the support of friends and/or colleagues.
The Mental Health Foundation has produced a useful guide, which features tips on how to cope with loneliness and deal with some of the negative feelings that loneliness can cause. Some of the tips for dealing with loneliness include:
If you’d like to take part in Mental Health Awareness Week, you can share your experiences of loneliness on social media, using the hashtag #IveBeenThere.
At MyHelp, we want to help both individuals and mental health practitioners, by making it easier to support people with their mental health and wellbeing. Our digital suite provides mental health practitioners with an easy-to-use, interactive platform featuring a full suite of useful tools and an extensive resources library. In addition, individuals receiving support with their mental health needs have full access to an integrated mobile app, where they can view their therapy goals, share information and communicate with their practitioner.
MyHelp represents a shift towards a truly interactive and collaborative model of mental health care; an important tool for combating loneliness and improving the patient experience.
If you would like to find out more about what MyHelp has to offer, and how it can assist you in your practise, then get in touch.
The NHS has been under considerable pressure as a result of COVID-19, caused by the combined effects of an increase in demand for many services, coupled with high levels of staff absenteeism.
Although the worst of the pandemic may be behind us - with latest figures from NHS England revealing that waiting lists are beginning to fall for the first time in over two years - there is still considerable work to be done before services return to pre-pandemic levels.
Mental health services are among those which have faced unprecedented challenges since the onset of the pandemic. NHS Digital recently reported that mental health services are facing “previously unseen” numbers of referrals for conditions including anxiety and depression, with a staggering 1.4 million people still awaiting treatment.
The NHS Long Term Plan has made additional funding available to address the mental health backlog, and sets out ambitious targets to address the current shortfalls in mental health provision and ensure that everyone in need of mental health support has access to it.
One of the ways in which the NHS Long Terms Plan envisages the transformation of mental health services is through digitisation. The plan outlines a number of measures which prioritise technology to support the work of mental health professionals, whilst improving transparency and communication for service users. These include:
Furthermore, patients both want and expect more collaboration with healthcare professionals and greater transparency in relation to their care journey. This progression is particularly important in the field of mental health, where open communication between patients and practitioners, and better access to support, can significantly impact the treatment and recovery journey.
In line with the NHS Long Term Plan and in response to the demands of an increasingly tech-savvy population, a greater reliance on digital tools and remote monitoring will be a key characteristic of mental health care moving forwards.
Mental health professionals are already adapting to this new landscape, and embracing this unique opportunity to develop new ways of working and supporting patients in the community.
MyHelp is a digital tool which has been developed to enhance and support the relationship between mental health practitioners and service users. This unique communication platform provides clinicians with access to an extensive library of supportive materials to enrich the therapeutic process - including treatment goals, QI measurement tools, assessment aids and worksheets - in addition to an easy-to-use mobile app, which enables contact with - and from- services users, facilitating a collaborative care model.
MyHelp is already helping many mental health care professionals and their clients, by facilitating more efficient, focused and transparent communication and case management. This, in turn, not only eases the burden on acute services by providing robust support to patients in the community, but also enhances the therapeutic experience for all involved,
If you would like to find out more about what MyHelp can do for you and your patients, please get in touch.
It has been well documented in recent months that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to serious backlogs in many essential NHS services, particularly elective care and mental health.
But for patients seeking support with mental health issues, the problem is twofold: not only has the pandemic seen essential services reduced to a minimum as healthcare staff have been channelled into urgent care and COVID-19, the combined effects of lockdowns and ongoing restrictions have also led to a significant rise in mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.
According to a recent analysis of data from NHS Digital carried out by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the NHS received an unprecedented 4.3 million referrals for specialist mental health services in 2021. This represents a substantial increase from the previous year, when 3.8 million referrals were received. Furthermore, this figure fails to account for ‘hidden referrals’, which describes those people who may still be holding back from seeking support. In reality, the figure could be even higher.
Dr Adrian James, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists expressed his concern about the future of mental health services in the UK. He said: “Staff are working flat-out to give their patients the support they need, but the lack of resources and lack of staff mean it’s becoming an impossible situation to manage.”
The UK Government has acknowledged the importance of getting mental health services back on track, and in a bid to address excessive backlogs for this essential service, have pledged to increase funding whilst urging those in need of support to seek help.
A spokesperson for the NHS said: “the NHS Long Term Plan is investing an additional £2.3 billion every year into mental health services, with nine in 10 adults seeing a mental health professional within six weeks of a referral for adult talking therapies. Anyone who thinks they may need care should come forward so the NHS can support them.”
However, in light of increasing demands for mental health services, will additional funding be enough to address the crippling backlogs and make sure that people in need receive essential support in a timely fashion?
The increase in funding for mental health services is not, in itself, enough. In addition, the NHS needs to modernise services and embrace technological advances in order to meet the needs of the population. As outlined in the NHS Long Term Plan, there is a need for NHS services to streamline and undergo a digital transformation in order to provide people with the ongoing support they need to help them manage their mental health.
Technology can provide an effective tool for mental health clinicians to improve the efficiency of services, enhance the patient experience and support the delivery of care in a meaningful, measurable way.
MyHelp is a new digital tool which has been designed to facilitate and improve communication and support between mental health professionals and service users.
Features include a web-based platform called MyHelp Desk, with useful tools to guide practitioners and assist individuals receiving support. MyHelp Desk is fully integrated with the easy-to-use MyHelp app, with options to add and review therapy goals, apply standard measurement tools and helpful suggestions for improving an individual’s treatment journey.
MyHelp provides mental health professionals, therapists and counsellors with the tools they need to maintain contact with service users, produce individual care plans, engage in collaborative care and improve outcomes.
The MyHelp platform will help you to reach more people in need, and to manage their care more safely, effectively and with less paperwork.
If you would like to find out more about MyHelp and how it could help reduce your workload, empower your patients and enhance the support you provide, then get in touch.
Draft guidance says ‘menu of treatment options’ including CBT and mindfulness should be offered in less severe cases. Further details are included within the following Guardian article:
Faced with a looming mental health crisis, the UK government has been urged to invest in the digitisation of service provision across the NHS in England in a new report from think tank Future Care Capital.