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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