During 2016 MindTech staff and Involvement Team members have been co-producing a course on the use of digital technology to run at the Nottingham Recovery College. Recovery Colleges deliver education and training programmes within mental health services, providing education as a route to Recovery. We ran the 6 week course for the first time in November and December. Here is a short report on what we did and how the course went.

How did this course come about?
Conversations between Paul (Involvement volunteer) and Lucy (Research Fellow) led to the idea. Paul said:

‘I know how useful digital technology has been for my mental health. I know how increasingly important this will be in the future. But so many of my friends and peers are not part of this digital revolution – YET! I want others to see and experience the digital world and benefit from it. I want power in healthcare to move into the hands and smartphones of service users’

hand held toolsWhat’s the aim of the course?
Our course aims to increase students’ knowledge and confidence around using digital technology for mental health recovery. We hope it will provide them with information and skills so that they can develop ideas for creating their own digital toolbox that meets their own needs while staying safe online. Topics across the course include: getting online; online mental health information; apps; social media; games. One recurrring theme throughout the course is how new technologies can be seen as tools to help us, so we look at other tools across human history and how these have helped. 

How did co-production work in this context?
Co-production happened in a number of ways and could be described as a multi-level approach, where we could match people’s strengths and preferences with different ways to get involved. Paul was involved in all the conversations, meetings and discussion about the course. We also held larger open meetings where topics for the course were decided by gathering ideas from people who access mental health services and current College students – these meetings were highly influential on the final shape and content of the course. Through a series of detailed meetings with researchers, service users and college tutors, these topic ideas have been developed into 6 teaching sessions filled with interactive exercises, personal insights from Lived Experience and hands on experiences with technologies. It has felt like the coming together of service users’ needs and requirements with researchers’ knowledge about current advances in digital technology, which has resulted in a more comprehensive course than if one group designed it alone.

What did we learn about co-production?
The College require careful documentation about how the co-production works in the development process. This helped us to reflect on what had worked and what could be improved. Key things we learnt include:

  • There’s often a tendency for the professionals to take control or the lead – even if staff do the majority of the work between meetings, they need to guard against assuming control or making decisions without the equal input of service users.
  • Some service users way of engaging can be different from professionals expectations (e.g. anger, shouting etc) – how should this be managed/tolerated in open meeting settings?
  • There can be a temptation to minimise involvement to those who are easiest to involve and those most capable – here’s where the multi-level involvement is important.

How did the course go?
The course was co-delivered by Debbie Butler (Involvement Volunteer), Lucy (Research Fellow), Mike Craven (Senior Research Fellow) and Robyn Devine (College Peer Tutor). Across the six weeks, 8 students took part in the course, with four students attending at least five sessions. They were clearly interested in the topic and the discussions within the group were really engaging and interesting. Students fed back that they enjoyed the course and had learnt new things, but some also felt like they needed more help with actually using the new technologies, like smartphones and tablets computers. Mike said: 

'It has been a really great experience to take what we have learnt about the benefits of digital mental health in the first four years of MindTech and work with the Recovery College to share it more widely.'

Future developments?
We are working with the college to see how the course can be improved and adapted after this initial run. After this there is scope for the course to run by other people and organisations. The materials could also be adapted for a staff orientated course and other one-off workshops e.g. NHS Expo.

Spreading the knowledge about the value of digital technology for mental health recovery could keep us busy for years!
The NIHR MindTech HTC Symposium 2016 took place on Thursday 8th December 2016 the Royal College of Physicians, St Andrews Place, Regent’s Park, London NW1 4LE. We were very pleased with the event. Comments on the day can now be viewed on Twitter #mindtech2016

For details and of this and previous symposia, see: http://mindtech.org.uk/mindtech-annual-conference.html
MindTech is involved, as a University of Nottingham academic partner, in a major new European collaborative research programme RADAR-CNS that will explore potential of wearable devices to help prevent and treat depression, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy.

RADAR-CNS (Remote Assessment of Disease and Relapse in Central Nervous System Disorders) RADAR CNS logois supported by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) and was officially launched on 26 April 2016. Its aim is to develop new ways of monitoring major depressive disorder, epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis using wearable devices and smartphone technology. The programme brings together experts from diverse fields including clinical research, engineering, computer science, information technology, data analytics and health services.

Continuous remote assessment using smartphones and wearable devices provides a picture of a patient’s condition at a level of detail which was previously unachievable. It could potentially allow treatment to begin before a patient’s health deteriorates, preventing the patient relapsing or becoming more ill before they seek treatment. Epilepsy, depression, and multiple sclerosis are distinct disorders, with different causes and symptoms, all of which can be severely detrimental to patients’ quality of life and life expectancy. For all three disorders, patients often experience periods where their symptoms are manageable, followed by periods of deterioration and acute illness (relapse). Patient surveys have repeatedly highlighted the need to predict when relapses will happen and to improve the treatments which are available to stop them from occurring.

RADAR-CNS runs from 2016 until 2021 and is jointly led by King’s College London and Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, funded by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (a Public Private Partnership established between the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) and the European Union Horizon 2010) and includes 24 partners from across Europe and the US.

MindTech will participate in RADAR-CNS as the University of Nottingham partner and will lead a work package on ‘Pathways’, which will investigate how remote monitoring technologies will best fit into the different clinical pathways for Depression, Epilepsy and Multiple Sclerosis, and what changes to existing pathways might be afforded by their introduction. This will involve investigating how these conditions are treated across Europe in order to understand how they can best be used to provide benefits in the healthcare system and to clinical professionals, and to determine its economic value to healthcare providers.

Other work packages in RADAR-CNS involve the three clinical themes and their coordination, the patient and regulator perspectives and the development of the device technology, software and data handling.

Further information about RADAR-CNS is available at the Horizon 2020 website and the full list of organisations involved in the project can be found at the RADAR-CNS homepage.

According to Professor Chris Hollis, Clinical Director of MindTech, “I am delighted that MindTech is part of the RADAR-CNS grant, and we hope to use our considerable strengths in healthcare technology research to the benefit of patients with central nervous system disorders.” Professor Richard Morriss and Dr. Michael Craven are the other MindTech investigators from the University of Nottingham Faculty of Engineering and Medical School.
We are developing and testing a brain-training programme to improve control of attention and action in people with ADHD.

We are inviting anyone with symptoms of ADHD between the ages of 8 and 50 to help.

The training programme involves a series of computer games using an eye-tracker. The eye tracker means that you can use the direction of your eyes to control the game, instead of a game controller or mouse.

We will assess your attentional and other brain processes before and after training to see whether it has made any difference to your control of attention and action.

The study takes place at the Institute of Mental Health, Jubilee Campus, at the University of Nottingham.

To find out more please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Tel: (0)115 74 84013

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Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS FT is a partner in an exciting new 4 year programme MinD (Designing for People with Dementia: designing for mindful self-empowerment and social engagement) with European and Australian partners. MindTech’s Tom Dening (Professor of Dementia Research & old age psychiatrist at NHT) and Dr. Michael Craven (technology senior research fellow) are running the NHT end of the programme along with consultant clinical psychologist & neuropsychologist Dr. Donna Maria Coleston and MindTech’s patient and public involvement team, all based at the Institute of Mental Health, University of Nottingham Jubilee Campus. The MinD programme involves multiple exchange visits and technology design projects.

Mike Craven (group photo, front left) attended the first management meeting in Brussels in March. The following press release from the lead site in Wolverhampton explains more about the project. Notts Healthcare will co-host the first exchange visit with University of Wolverhampton in May.

MinD group 3 640x480
MinD - Designing for People with Dementia: designing for mindful self-empowerment and social engagement

On 9 and 10 March 2016, the University of Wolverhampton’s Brussels office hosted the first partner meeting of the MinD project, led by Prof Kristina Niedderer of the Faculty of Arts (group photo, front right). Researchers from 10 partner organisations in five European countries came together to discuss how they will collaborate in the area of designing for the mindful self-empowerment and social engagement of people with dementia.

The partner organisations are a combination of universities, healthcare providers and design professionals. During this four-year project, which will run until February 2020, they will work together to design and create a number of experiential prototypes to support people with dementia. These will cover designing to help with personal difficulties with social engagement, and designing the environment to help with social engagement.

The project will be carried out through a series of 15-day exchanges in the partner countries: the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Luxemburg, Spain and Australia. Researchers will be hosted by one of the partners as they work on issues such as data collection, design development, implementation and testing of the designs. The first exchanges will take place in May 2016 and will be hosted by partners in the Midlands, UK.

Prof Kristina Niedderer, project coordinator, said “The meeting was an excellent first opportunity for all partners to come together and to plan for the implementation of this novel project. Bringing together design and mindfulness to support dementia care offers new and exciting research opportunities, which this consortium will explore. The MinD project is one of the few that uses design to foreground the human experience when interacting with technology.”

The partners involved in the MinD project are:

1) Universities - University of Wolverhampton, Universiteit Twente (NL), Technische Universitaet Dresden (DE), Université de Luxembourg , Queensland University of Technology

2) Dementia care & policy - Alzheimer Europe (LX), Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Alexianer St Hedwig Klinik Berlin (DE), Zorggroep Sint Marten (NL)

3) Design and ICT – Panton Design (NL), Picharchitects (ES), Eurecat (ES), INTRAS (ES)

For more information, please go to the MinD project website at http://www.designingfordementia.eu

Funding bid website: http://cordis.europa.eu/project/rcn/199934_en.html

EU logo, acknowledgement and disclaimer.
eu logo

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 691001.

This document reflects only the author's view and the Research Executive Agency is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.
What research needs to be done into digital technologies for mental health?

We all know that digital technology has the potential to transform mental healthcare by connecting patients, services and health data in new ways. We also know that substantial gaps exist in the evidence base underlying these technologies and further research and new methodologies are needed to address this (Hollis et al, 2015).

More research is needed, but resources for this are limited – funds can be hard to secure and time is needed to carry out robust research. We can’t tackle all the unanswered questions in the short time scales demanded by the speed of digital. The recent webinar on mHealth for Mental Health hosted by the Evidence-based Mental Health argued for the need to prioritise research to progress the field. We would further argue that those who use digital products and services – people who access services and the clinicians who support them - should play a lead role in this prioritisation.

Therefore, MindTech proposes building a collaboration to undertake a James Lind Alliance (JLA) Priority Setting Partnership with a focus on prioritising unanswered research questions in digital technology for mental health. We want to focus on the uncertainties about the application of technologies in practice and their effects. For example, does digital increase access to services?; to what extent does digital promote independence and self-management?; does using wellbeing digital tools prevent longer term mental health problems?

Can you help us build this consortium?

We are looking for partners who can take on different roles within the consortium. We will need to raise around £30,000 to cover the major costs of the project. Possible options for interested partners are:

· Funding partners who would make a financial contribution to the PSP which would lead to a place on the project steering group where decisions about the direction and delivery of the project are made.

· Supporting partners will not be required to make a financial contribution, instead they will provide advice to the steering group, be listed in the all the project publicity, advocate for the project within their networks, and take part in the project surveys and workshops.

If you are interested in this project and want to find out more, please contact Lucy Simons at MindTech:

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What is Compassion and Compassion Focused Therapy and how can we use Compassion in the ProReal World?

On Friday 5th February MindTech's Caroline Falconer presented the webinar 'Avatars & Compassion'. MindTech is collaborating with ProReal on the virtual reality therapeutic platform. The webinar recording is now freely available.


During this free webinar we will explore how the concepts of cultivating a compassionate mind fits with ProReal and how the effects of practicing compassion using virtual reality can be transferred into our everyday lives. Attendees will:

  • gain insight into concepts from Compassion Focused Therapy
  • learn about the research that shows how avatars and virtual reality can support this work
  • experience how avatars and features of ProReal can be used to highlight aspects of the self and cultivate a compassionate mind

Dr. Caroline Falconer is a Research Fellow at the University of Nottingham in the National Institute of Health Research MindTech Healthcare Technology Co-operative specialising in technology innovation, design and evaluation in mental healthcare.

Who should attend? Everyone is welcome but this will be of particular value to those who have some experience of ProReal either through use of the software or having seen a demo.

Follow the link below for a 15 minute video and then the whole webinar recording.

Link: http://www.proreal.co.uk/news/avatar-compassion-webinar-improved-attendees-self-compassion

More details about the webinar: http://www.proreal.co.uk/news/free-webinar-avatars-compassion


Related media: Caroline's previous VR work at UCL is in the news this week

MindTech's Symposium 2015 videos are now online.

Feel free to watch all the talks and discussions from 3rd December 2015, divided into sessions.

This and previous symposium video material from 2013 and 2014 is all available here:


study of Computer-assisted Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (cCBT) for depression by University of York Researchers and published in the BMJ has recently hit the headlines as it has suggests that cCBT may offer little or no benefit for depression.

MindTech have had the following response to this study published - please see the BMJ website for the full letter and other rapid responses.

Re: Computerised cognitive behaviour therapy (cCBT) as treatment for depression in primary care (REEACT trial): large scale pragmatic randomised controlled trial

We commend the authors of the REEACT trial for conducting a large-scale pragmatic randomised controlled evaluation of the effectiveness of offering either computerised cognitive behaviour therapy (cCBT) (Beating the Blues or MoodGYM) in addition to usual care for depression in UK primary care settings.

Computerised CBT packages available on the internet, especially ones that are free to the consumer and the NHS, widen access to treatment in a variety of important ways, such as choice, immediate access, contextualisation to personal need, not having to ask other people for help and lack of stigma from having a consultation for depression recorded in case notes. These considerations regarding scale of delivery, efficiency and accessibility are particularly important for people with depression, for whom it is estimated that only 25 per cent receive any health service treatment at all [1].

The authors correctly state that as a pragmatic trial they have not set out to test the efficacy of cCBT for depression already established in meta-analyses [2]. However, in our view, their headline conclusion that ‘supported (our italics) computerised cognitive behaviour therapy confers modest or no benefit over usual GP care’ overstates what the REEACT study can tell us regarding the effectiveness of cCBT more generally, as the cCBT interventions in this trial were unguided and unsupported by clinicians. Research has consistently shown that unguided cCBT delivered without clinician support has smaller effects and poorer adherence than clinician guided cCBT [3, 4].

As part of conference in London that took place at The King's Fund HQ a couple of weeks ago, MindTech's Jen Martin gave an overview of initiatives across the NHS that are using digital technology to increase and improve access to mental health care:

All the other talks can be found in the link below.

Event: Increasing access to mental health care
Date: 8 Sep 2015
Time: 9.00am–5.00pm
Venue: The King's Fund, London W1G 0AN
Event type: Conference


Increasing access to mental health care is a key issue in valuing mental health equally with physical health, or creating 'parity of esteem'. The introduction of access and waiting time standards are part of a five-year plan to ensure that mental and physical health services are integrated and given equal priority by 2020.

About this event

Achieving ‘parity of esteem’ will require a fundamental change in the way services are delivered, and commissioned. This conference offered delegates best practice, tools and guidance to help support them to deliver this national ambition.

At the mid-August University of Nottingham Summer Scientist Week MindTech's Mike Craven and Maddie Groom launched a new smartphone game called 'Awkward Owls' which is aimed at creating a fun way to measure attention, hyperactivity and impulse control in children. Summer Scientist Week is a free annual event for four- to 11-year-olds and their parents which gives an introduction to the mind and brain and enables them to take part in university research studies.

Monday 28th September, 9:30 am - 2:00 pm

Institute of Mental Health, University of Nottingham, Triumph Road, Nottingham. NG7 2TU. 

Please click here for full programme details and registration (this event is free to attend): 

Please SAVE THE DATE for MindTech's third annual symposium!

NIHR MindTech 2015 Mental Health Technology Symposium

Date: Thursday 3rd December 2015

Venue: The Royal College of Physicians, London

Background: Digital technology has the potential to transform mental healthcare by increasing access to psychological treatments and real-timem onitoring which can provide greater self-management and personalised care. These 'high-value' technological innovations promise to drive efficiencies and improve healthcare outcomes. However, to realise this potential major challenges must be addressed:

MC and JM prize awarded to the GIFT teamMindTech helped judge the winning entries at the Create-4-Dementia two-day event over the weekend of 30th and 31st May in Newcastle. This was the first event from the Lincoln/Newcastle 'HTC Network' for Social Computing funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to promote collaborations with NIHR Healthcare Technology Co-operatives. The network was officially launched at the British HCI conference in Southport last year.

bsi pas 277 cover smA new code of practice for healthcare app development was published by the The British Standards Institution on 30th April 2015. The purpose of the Publically Available Specification PAS 277:2015 Health and wellness apps. Quality criteria across the life cycle. Code of practice was to form a set of principles for developers so that health care professionals, patients and the public trust their products and services. It has been developed for use in the United Kingdom.

evaluating effectiveness innovation labsWe are pleased to announce that our work on the Innovation Labs products evaluation, funded by Comic Relief, has been completed and a final report is available (along with summary and product highlights for quick reading) as well as a series of blog articles. Do take a look.

Create-4-Dementiac4d poster, the first public event of the EPSRC - NIHR HTC Partnership Award: Social Computing And Mental Health Research Network (led by University of Lincoln School of Computer Science and Newcastle University School of Computing Science in collaboration with NIHR MindTech Healthcare Technology Co-operative at Nottingham) will take place over the weekend of 30th-31st of May 2015.

The 2nd National MindTech Symposium was held in November 2014 at the Royal College of Physicians in London.  


This event brought together over 200 people from a wide range of backgrounds to discuss technology for mental health. Topics ranged from the use of video technology to deliver talking therapies to the development of novel avatar-based mental health treatments, and also covered the evaluation of online and direct-to-consumer mental health services. Speakers included Geraldine Strathdee, National Clinical Director for Mental Health, NHS England; Simon Wilson, Clinical Director of Big White Wall and Prof Tom Craig from the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London, Institute of Psychiatry.

See all videos here

mindtech dementia unmet needs event nottingham 26-02-2015On 26th February 2015 NIHR MindTech Healthcare Technology Co-operative held its second 'unmet needs' event with the support of Medilink East Midlands and Next Business Generation. 70 delegates came to a full Nottingham Belfry Hotel conference room to hear from 4 speakers about healthcare and 'living well' with dementia.

Speakers included academics at the Institute of Mental Health (MindTech and Centre for Dementia), an NHS Admiral Nurse (dementia specialist) and an independent carer invitee. This was followed by a workshop session where all 8 tables discussed the James Lind Alliance priorities and all produced an innovative technology idea in response to the identified needs.

Innovation Labs - MindTech project evaluation - 21-1-2015 smallThanks to Joe Roberson of 'Working with Joe', we have a nice video (we think!) of three of the MindTech team, Lucy Simons, Michael Craven & Jennifer Martin talking about our evaluation of the Apps and websites co-produced by young people for the Innovation Labs project.

Lucy, Mike and Jen have just completed the evaluation of 5 of the 7 Labs products which included websites Doc Ready, Madly in Love & Head Meds and smartphone apps In Hand & Moodbug.

The video in the following link was at the 'Shared Learning Event' we put on for all of the Labs teams that took place in London (Friends House, Euston) on 21st January 2015. The evaluation was funded by a grant to MindTech/University of Nottingham from Comic Relief who were the main funder of Innovations Labs itself:

Read more & Watch the video: http://www.innovationlabs.org.uk/2015/02/23/mindtech-talk-product-evaluation/


It was confirmed last month that MindTech HTC was successful in achieving funding from NIHR to develop a new Paediatric Healthcare Technology theme. The new theme will be led by Professor Cris Glazebrook and will potentially lead to improvements in the quality of life and effectiveness of services for children and young people with mental health problem and other long term health conditions and vulnerabilities.

PRESS RELEASE 28 October 2014

Please pdfdownload press release document or read below.

During September and October 2014, we held a blogging competition for the members of the MindTech Public Reference Group.

Following from MindTech's contribution to the Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer 2013: Public Mental Health Priorities: Investing in the Evidence we were asked to submit aresearch priority for technologies, and this was as follows:

10 Sep 2014

MindTech was delighted to be invited to write a chapter on Technological Innovations in Mental Healthcare for the Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer 2013, which was launched on the 9th September 2014. 

This chapter was the result of the work of a large number of people, not all of whom could be listed in the chapter itself, and we we would like to thank and fully acknowledge the contributions of the following authors: 

09 Sep 2014

MindTech is today celebrating national recognition having been placed in the spotlight in the Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer 2013: Public Mental Health Priorities: Investing in the Evidence, which was launched today.

The report, written by Professor Dame Sally Davies, the Government's Chief Medical Officer is launched yearly and this year focusses on mental healthcare.  Dame Sally invited Professor Chris Hollis, Clinical Director of MindTech, to lead a chapter on technology for mental health in the report.  

Grabbing attention to raise awareness of ADHD

attention grabber mindtech sitw concept photoOn the 4th September MindTech launched Attention Grabber, an innovative interactive game which tests the player's attention and aims to raise awareness of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults. The game is now available at the Broadway Cinema in Nottingham city centre and New Art Exchange in Hyson Green for everyone to play. A short film is also available which enables people to learn more about adult ADHD.

Attention Grabber has been devised by researchers at the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) MindTech Healthcare Technology Co-operative (HTC), in collaboration with Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust. It is playable through the Screens in the Wild interactive screens in two locations in Nottingham, the Broadway Cinema in Hockley, City Centre and at the New Art Exchange, Gregory Boulevard, Hyson Green (near the Forest tram stop) plus two venues in London.

Attention Grabber is available to play daily at the following times so please visit any of the locations and give it a go! pdfDownload the flyer.

Broadway Cinema      08:00 - 09:30
Broad Street              15:30 - 18:00
Hockley, NG1 3AL       20:00 - 21:00

New Art Exchange       09:00 - 09:30 (excluding Sundays)
Gregory Boulevard      15:30 - 17:00 (until 16:00 Sundays)
Hyson Green, NG7 6BE


More information: Attention Grabber project page

See also: MindTech will present a paper about the Attention Grabber project at Interactive Technologies and Games (ITAG) Conference 2014 in Nottingham on 17th October 2014, organised by Nottingham Trent University and Game City. Download pdfITAG2014 conference schedule.


The purpose of MindTech's latest public event in Nottingham is to work with stakeholder and interested parties to identify unmet needs in mental health and dementia and to find ways to meet these needs. Update: please note the event is full but there is a waiting list in case the event is rerun in the future (Read more and follow the link).

We are delighted to announce that we have been awarded a grant from Comic Relief to evaluate the digital outputs from an exciting project called Innovation Labs.

Tom Dening and Mike Craven are part of a consortium that also includes Leone Services, The University of the West of England; Sensixa Limited and Swiss Cottage School that has been awarded funding from the Technology Strategy Board as part of their Long-term Care Revolution Competition.  CASA (Connecting Assistive Solutions to Aspirations) will develop holistic and integrated solutions for people who want attractive design, efficient functionality and intuitive usability. That's most of us! 

More details can be found in our Current Projects area and the TSB website on the competition results page and on the Long-term Care Revolution page. 

Dr Alinda Gillott & Professor Chris Hollis of Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust have been awarded the Medipex NHS Innovation Award for Mental Health & Wellbeing for their project Making sense of adult ADHD.

Mike Craven recently gave a talk on the importance of addressing user requirements when designing smartphone apps for healthcare at the mobile technology and mental health conference at Manchester University. You can view the slides from this talk on slideshare. Please contact us for more information on this topic. 

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Phew - long, but interesting day on #digitalMHQ project. Thanks to the steering group for lots of ideas, provocations and perspectives.