Headway: building mentally healthy lives.

Many young people wait a long time to receive the help they need for their mental health. But the evidence shows that if they, and their parents or carers, are provided with suitable knowledge, skills, and tools, then these young people can do a lot themselves to build mentally healthy lives, reducing the risk of mental ill-health.

So, in co-operation with clinicians and researchers at the South London & Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and the School of Psychology at the University of Sussex, we are developing Headway®. This is a digital tool that will facilitate family-based self-help, appropriately integrated with clinical support in Primary Care.

Headway® will provide:

  • for parents and carers: knowledge and skills which will enable them to help their child; and Insight Tools to help them identify risk factors that might lead to mental ill-health in their child.
  • for children and young people: Therapeutic Activities that will help the child to reduce the impact of these risk factors, and build a mentally healthy life.

Available now:

The Headway: Parent Toolkit enables parents and carers to develop vital knowledge and skills to help their children build mentally healthy lives. It is currently available as an online eLearning resource, but will subsequently be integrated into the Headway® app when this is released.

Now live at www.Headway.Family

Completed useability testing:

The first two Insight Tools, and the first four Therapeutic Activities, have been created and tested for useability (acceptability, adherence, and satisfaction). This produced good results with, for example, 93% finding it easy to use, and 75% finding it interesting and engaging. This useability testing also provided good signals of efficacy with, for example, 87% finding that it facilitated parent/carer support, and 69% finding that it was relevant to their personal needs and challenges.

This research did highlight a few tweaks and developments that participants reported would further increase useability and efficacy. So we plan to incorporate these in further developments.

Here’s a short video that we used when recruiting participants, and that provides a brief summary of the evidence-based psychology underlying the four Therapeutic Activities:

Currently being developed:

Our vision is to help as many children and young people as possible.

Therefore, thanks to further funding from Innovate UK and the National Institute for Health and Care Research, we are exploring how to turn the Headway® tools into plug-ins which can be added to websites of other organisations that reach and serve young people, with appropriate regulatory compliance.

Find out more at www.FamilyMentalWealth.com/Plug-ins.