It is estimated that one in 10 children aged between five and 16 experience a mental health problem and that 50% of lifetime mental illness, excluding dementia, start by the age of 14. But there is plenty of evidence that early action minimises the long-term impact of issues such as anxiety, depression or eating disorders. In 2015, Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust and groups of young people came together to create HeadScape, a new, self-help website with a custom made, built-in mental health screening tool and self-referral function.
HeadScape has been designed to have maximum compatibility on iPads and smart phones, and is aimed specifically at users aged between 10 and 18. It is a new online self-help tool that responds to the needs of a generation well-versed in technology. It has also proven to be a useful resource for parents and professionals.
HeadScape is a unique, 'one stop' source of self-help about a range of mental health issues and conditions that young people can browse at leisure, along with the option to undertake the mental health screening questionnaire, which when completed, provides individually tailored advice and information, based on the unique results of the questionnaire.
The site is simple to use and highly visual with well designed, colour coded emoticons to represent feelings and situations. Oxleas worked with groups of young people, both face to face and in online forums, to develop the site together. Everything from the name of the site, the design, colour scheme, fonts, icons, language and navigation has been developed by young people, for young people.
Between 13 March and 29 April 2015, HeadScape received over 900 visits. Careful monitoring of site analytics provides insight into where demand lies and which issues and conditions are experiencing the greatest need for information and support in the local community.
Anyone can visit HeadScape, browse the site and undertake the quizzes and questionnaires to receive the tailored information and advice. Currently, the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service self-referral function is open to young people who live in Greenwich or are registered with a Greenwich GP.