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New report identifies potential digital solutions to support mental health services for young people

The Oxford AHSN is publishing a new report today identifying potential digital solutions to support NHS mental health services for children and young people.

To help increase capacity and achieve better outcomes in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) at a time of rising demand, the NHS has recognised it needs help to identify and harness the best of the ever-expanding array of digital innovations – from assessment through therapeutic interventions to ongoing support and prevention.

Last year the Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West (BOB) Integrated Care System (ICS) asked the Oxford AHSN to scope the available digital support options as part of a wider commitment to improve the mental health of children and young people in collaboration with service providers.

Our new report is the result of this scoping exercise which involved extensive engagement with young people, clinicians and health tech developers. Our audit of 24 digital tools and solutions covered current usage, interoperability, user experience and cost, and fit with NHS strategic priorities. It is based on a snapshot taken in mid-2022 and presents the information available at that time about each product consistently without judgement or recommendation.

Dr Mairi Evans, Clinical Director for Children, Young People, Families, All Age Eating Disorders and Learning Disabilities, and Senior Responsible Officer for CAMHS at BOB ICS, said: “The collaborative working relationship with the Oxford AHSN has enabled a detailed review of digital approaches and possibilities, alongside the engagement of practitioners and young people who will be utilising these approaches.

“This is an  important step in informing us as we review our use of digital solutions with an aim to improve timely access to information, support and interventions for children, young people and their families.”

Andy Fitton, Head of CAMHS and Eating Disorder Transformation at Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Engaging the Oxford AHSN has allowed us to gather a wealth of information which we will use to develop a coherent strategy for a digital offer to children and young people.”

Lauren Fensome, Programme Manager at the Oxford AHSN, said: “Time-pressed clinicians and commissioners know that there are digital solutions out there that could bring real benefits to their young patients and their families but they can understandably become overwhelmed by the sheer volume of available options. By bringing the key details together in one place we hope we have made that process a little easier.”