CCGs and local authorities have invested £2.4 million in an online webtool for patients to ‘self manage’ their mental health.
The webtool, expected to launch in the autumn, will be commissioned led by NHS Tower Hamlets CCG, but will be available to patients in all of London. It has been jointly funded by all of the CCGs and the local authorities.
The tool, that will be available on both desktop and mobile platforms will give patients access to online information and support, while being monitored by mental health professionals.
It is designed to cut costs and reduce pressure on other services, CCG leaders said, as a recent report by the Greater London Authority revealed that poor mental health costs London a total of £26bn each year including health and social care to treat illness, benefits to support people living with mental ill health, costs to education services and the criminal justice system, and issues such as reduced productivity and quality of life.
According to Public Health England statistics, London has UK’s highest levels of anxiety and almost a third of Londoners report low levels of happiness. Over 15% of London’s adults are likely to have a common mental disorder such as anxiety, depression, phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder and panic disorders. Of these, only 24% are likely to be receiving clinical help for their condition.
Sir Sam Everington, local GP and chair of NHS Tower Hamlets CCG, said: ‘Pressures on the individual are preventable given the strong evidence that identifying and treating common mental health conditions early leads to better outcomes. Providing a service that allows Londoners to self-direct themselves to support and information could also help reduce the burden of demand on a range of health and care services.
‘Our vision is to improve Londoner’s mental wellbeing by offering an open access digital service which is available all year round. As both a preventive and self-managed support system, the service would be available online rather than require a visit, or referral to, a health service provider – something many Londoners would prefer. The service would be monitored 24/7 by trained mental wellbeing professionals.’