Digital tech for mental health

Loneliness and depression in a digital age

Julie Barnett, Professor of Health Psychology at Bath University, introduced the Loneliness in the Digital Age (LiDA) project. Feeling lonely on a long term basis increases the risk of physical and mental illness and can be more damaging than having a serious smoking habit. The LiDA project has been taking an empathetic approach to map experiences of loneliness in specific groups of people and evolve digital technologies to help these groups manage loneliness. Through a process of co-creation the LiDA team have developed an approach which weaves face to face interaction with supportive technology. This has led to the creation of ‘pearing’ a peer support initiative which connects people both virtually and physically to build meaningful relationships.

Striving for change

As most of us still marvel at the magic of virtual reality (VR), artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR) Steve Hutson is harnessing the power of progressive technology to inspire the next generation. Building on personal experience of overcoming mental health challenges and addiction Steve has launched Young Visions. Young Visions is developing a virtual learning environment to engage and inform young people using virtual reality on topics including mental health, knife-crime, substance misuse, domestic violence and homelessness. Steve has drawn on personal experiences to build scenarios in a virtual reality space which introduce difficult and challenging topics and situations to young people, so enable them to problem solve and build resilience in a virtual space.

Building a resilient community

One of our ambitions with TechforGoodBath has been to connect and collaborate with the third sector. Recently we have been supporting St Johns Foundation. St John’s has a strong history and bold ambitions for the future, since 1174 the organisation has been supporting community initiatives. Over the past 2 years St Johns have been running a series of workshops to bring the health services community of Bath around the topic of mental health. These round table discussions have highlighted the need for better signposting, access to services and communication to create a more streamlined service delivery experience for those in need of mental health support. As part of these discussions, Wellbeing Options Directory of services has been surfaced, managed and updated by council and commissioned for networking across services and social prescribing. The council are looking to develop and support ways in which this directory can be used in different ways, and urge the wider community to think about ways in which it could be useful to services they provide. The ROVA platform which sits beneath the directory has significant functionality to enable data for re-use in any authorised service across the community.



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Making digital tech purposeful. We create change by envisioning a better future where ethics are considered and a responsible approach to technology is adopted.