Greater Manchester

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 five priority focus areas of the mental health programme include:

  1. Support for roll out of identified proven digital apps/platform-based innovations – outcomes and benefits data capture
  2. Development and accelerated mobilisation of a ‘digital front door’ for GM child and adolescent mental health services, as well as deployment of the Chat Health platform
  3. Identifying innovations to support vulnerable groups and evaluation of impact in partnership with third sector
  4. Population segmentation to better understand at risk cohorts that require proactive outreach/intervention
  5. 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 supporting the implementation of the proven digital innovations identified for roll-out across Greater Manchester.

Services include:

  • 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.
  • Kooth – an online counselling and emotional wellbeing platform for children and young people. Currently limited to Bolton, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Trafford and Wigan and will be extended to Bury, Salford, Stockport and Tameside by May 2020.
  • BlueIce – an evidenced-based app to help young people manage their emotions and reduce urges to self-harm. This app has launched and is available from a clinician working in CAMHS (child and adolescent mental health services).
  • SilverCloud – an online therapy programme for adults proven to help with stress, anxiety, low-mood and depression.
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