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NELFT NHS Foundation Trust provides a range of  community health and mental health services across the north east London Boroughs of Barking and Dagenham, Havering, Redbridge and Waltham Forest, Essex and Kent and Medway

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My Mind platform launch news and a Q&A with the co-founder Sam Illaiee

NELFT is delighted to announce the launch of its newest digital platform on Friday 1 September. The platform, called My Mind, was created in partnership with young people… for young people, to empower them to make positive decisions concerning their mental health, and provides a vast array of resources as part of their support.

The bold and ambitious platform features a vast array of information for young people on a broad range of issues, from how to deal with anxiety and stress to advice on eating disorders and relationships.

To discover more about My Mind visit the website page at: https://mymind.nelft.nhs.uk

We spoke to Sam Illaiee, Operational Lead for CAMHS in Waltham Forest and co-founder of My Mind, to learn more about My Mind and to answer our questions about the platform.

What is My Mind and how did it come about?

My Mind is a technology solution to facilitate the access to health services (CAMHS). It has two key functionalities. The first is a universal (national) self-help resource section. The second is the full messenger function (voice, video and text) with automated upload to the clients care record. We believe that this will be the first time, verbatim the clients’ voice captured in this way. Emma Selby (also a co-founder of My Mind) and I took this idea to NELFT’s innovation cave (a staff start-up programme) following a conversation and a fusion of our thinking on the idea.

How do you see digital interventions such as My Mind helping people manage their mental health?

My opinion is that Digital will play a large part in the future of healthcare (and life in general). Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence will be playing a big part in this. Data will also be crucial. New technology like My Mind works to bridge the gap between modern lifestyle choices of the general population and the ambitions of how healthcare can be delivered in the 21st century. Ease of access is key, the simpler and less stigmatising it is, the greater the appeal.

What are you most proud about My Mind?

I feel most proud about three areas of its development.

  • Firstly, pride in the NELFT NHS trust. The leadership and support it has offered from concept (innovation cave) to deployment gave us a secure foothold to believe, be ambitious and seek support when needed. 
  • Second is about the team and its evolution over time. From the team beginning, with an innovation cave pitch from Emma and I, to the young people of Waltham Forest designing the graphics, IT delivering the code, to the baton being passed to EWMHS to work on the resources, video and its further development beyond its Minimum Viable Product (MVP) status - to its September 1st  launch. Great teams share a vision and values. It is evident that, making child mental health easier to access is a shared vision and innovation, quality and better user experience are values we all share. A grand thank you to all.
  • The third reason for pride is how well it has been received outside of NELFT. From being shortlisted for the top 25 health innovations of 2016 (MVP format) to winning the Digital Health London award and now being nominated for the Nursing Times award - people have viscerally connected with this idea. The power that social media platforms have - has given us the opportunity to reach out and for interested people to ask questions and make amazing suggestions/support too.

My Mind has already been shortlisted and won a number of awards before its full launch; does this make you nervous with all the high expectation?

As mentioned, our intention was to innovate and transform how care is delivered in a modern, safe and efficient way. Our belief in its [My Mind] value was high. The external response received has been amazing. We’ve received award nominations (e.g. Nursing Times Awards and the NHS Digital Pioneer Awards) and the number of invitations to present at conference has been inspiring. It has re-focussed our belief in it and now our ‘expectation’ is that we would like to see it or technologies like it to be ‘business as usual’ for child and adolescent mental health services.

What are your hopes for the future for My Mind?

For me it all started as an idea to remove barriers to communication for children and young people. A phone call not answered for a whole day replaced by a smartphone message replied within 4 seconds! It got me thinking and here we are today!

My belief is that children and parents will be able to access services in a needs-based way, knowing what services are most appropriate and closest to them, then to communicate in new ways to further improve access.

The future of My Mind actually depends on those who use it. This is the philosophy behind its build. The most powerful message and the one I would like readers to take away is that of experience based co-design. Users and clinicians telling us what they want. I will enjoy what happens next. Disruptive innovation. We build, measure, learn and rapidly test (and split test) ideas and versions.

Is there anything you would like to close with?

This [My Mind] has been a team effort and I would like to thank the NELFT leadership, Waltham Forest CAMHS team, support services (IT team and communications department), and Waltham Forest directorate, EWMHS (Emotional Wellbeing Mental Health Services), NELFT Comms and especially co-founder Emma Selby for riding this amazing rollercoaster for the last 18 months!

Co-founders Sam and Emma at CEME

(Pictured above are the co-founders of My Mind - Sam Illaiee and Emma Selby)

Thanks to Sam for speaking to us. To follow My Mind on Twitter visit @app_mymind