Using technology to find out what young people think about mental health outcomes in Tower Hamlets

Six young people’s mental health services in Tower Hamlets have launched a pilot to engage children and young people who use mental health services, along with their parents and carers, on the outcomes that are important to them. Over the next eight weeks, six teams - Community Mental Health and the Early Detection services in East London Foundation Trust, Family Action, Step Forward, Docklands Outreach and the Council’s Family Intervention Service -  will work with local people to understand their experiences and needs, using a touch screen tablet to answer a range of questions. For the youngest, this includes smiley faces to show how they feel. All individual information remains private between the young person and the service they use.

Commissioners know that young people and their families want services that reflect their needs and use innovative ways to engage them. Service providers also want to make a demonstrable difference to patients’ lives and to understand what is important to them. Using technology such as tablets to engage young people is a great way to do this ’, said Martin Bould, the Commissioning Manager who is leading on the project for Tower Hamlets Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.

The questionnaires being used in this pilot are built around measurement scales that have been shown to work in practice, with additional questions for Tower Hamlets related to areas that children, young people and their families have said are important to them but that are not currently asked about by local services.

The pilot will test how using a tablet works for staff and families. Once evaluated in January, and if successful, the next stage will be to implement the use of a tablet with this questionnaire as a way of measuring how services are delivering outcomes. 


Editor’s note

Tower Hamlets CCG contracted Gallery Partnership to develop the digital tool following competitive procurement. The pilot is part of Children and Young People's Mental Health Transformation Plan and paid for by additional transformation funds for children and young people’s mental health released by the government.

A report will be produced in January.