COVID-19 Mental Health
Supporting the Greater Manchester system
The COVID-19 crisis has presented challenges which will create additional pressure on mental health services from trying to support people already accessing services to dealing with new cases caused by people’s sense of loneliness and isolation as well as the impact on staffing levels.
As a result, a range of digital services and online support have been identified for children and adults across Greater Manchester, supported by Health Innovation Manchester. This work is being overseen by the GM Mental Health Programme Board.
The priority focus areas of the mental health programme include:
- Support for roll out of identified proven digital apps/platform-based innovations – outcomes and benefits data capture
- Identifying innovations to support vulnerable groups and evaluation of impact in partnership with third sector
- Integration of data feeds from digital tools into the mental health clinical system and the GM Care Record to inform more holistic direct care and population health management
Several digital products and services have now been identified and are being actively deployed within localities as a proof of value. Others are undergoing evaluation through rapid evidence synthesis via the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) Greater Manchester.
New digital mental health services in Greater Manchester
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, and Chair of the Health and Social Care Partnership, Sir Richard Leese have announced an agreement for a city-region response on mental health to complement work already happening at a local level.
As a result, a range of digital services and online support have been launched for children and adults across Greater Manchester to minimise the need for people to attend GP surgeries or hospital.
Services can be accessed by people who are already experiencing mental health issues as well as people who may be struggling with the new social distancing and self-isolation restrictions.
Health Innovation Manchester is working on capturing the benefits and outcomes capture for the proven digital innovations identified for roll-out across Greater Manchester.
- SHOUT – a confidential 24/7 text service operated by trained crisis volunteers who will chat using text responses. Advice is available for anyone struggling with a host of issues, including: anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, abuse or assault, self-harm, bullying or relationship issues. The service is overseen by clinical supervisors. Read more.
- Kooth – an online counselling and emotional wellbeing platform for children and young people. Click here to read more.
- SilverCloud – an online therapy programme for adults proven to help with stress, anxiety, low-mood and depression. Read more here.
Since the innovations launched in April 2020, thousands of people across Greater Manchester have accessed mental health support through the digital tools. An benefits and outcomes report, compiled by Health Innovation Manchester in March 2021 found that:
- The Kooth online counselling and wellbeing platform was accessed by 8,045 children and young people. More than 64,000 logins to the platform have been recorded and 33,000 messages sent, with 94% of users saying they would recommend Kooth to their friends. Feedback from one user included the comment: “I feel so much more positive about myself now. I feel like a different person. I feel supported and valued and as a result I’m making changes in my life.”
- Since April 2020, 10,600 people have accessed SilverCloud’s online self-help mental health support, including programmes for stress, anxiety, low-mood and depression, have been accessed. On average more than 94% of users found the modules to be interesting, relevant, helpful or supportive. One user said: “Very enlightening and liberating! I can’t solve or change the past. But I can enjoy the present and have hope for the future.”
- 338 conversations have taken place on the free crisis text messaging service SHOUT 24/7 using the GM keyword. A user satisfaction survey shows that 90% of respondents found the conversation to be helpful. It is expected that many more people across the region may have accessed the service without using a GM keyword or using a nationally-promoted keyword. One user said: “I really appreciate all the help offered. It was nice to be able to tell someone what happened to me without feeling ashamed of it.”
You can also read more about how HInM and GMHSC Partnership have worked together on the digital mental health programme in this blog.