My WellHappy app launches at Expo

Myhealthlondon attend the Healthcare Innovation Expo

On March 13th and 14th 2013 members of the myhealthlondon team attended the Healthcare Innovation Expo at the Excel Centre in London. We were there to highlight our website, our dementia community and to launch the WellHappy app for young Londoners.

It was also a great opportunity to find out what else is happening in healthcare at the moment and we met lots of interesting new people including service users, clinicians and commissioners. We also bumped into Lord Victor Abedowale, the Chief Executive of Turning Point and had a chat about WellHappy and how some of Turning Point’s services for young people are included.


The Appzone and Health Apps Library

One of the main attractions at the Expo was the Appzone which you can see in the pictures below. It was here that the Health Apps Library was launched by the NHS Commissioning Board.

Over the two days of the expo ten brand new, never-before-seen apps were launched including our own.

It was a great opportunity not just in terms of the amazing platform to launch our own app but also to meet other developers, designers and teams involved in app development. We shared a lot of learning on the day and have had lots of interesting conversations since, showing that what happens at Expo doesn’t have to stay there, especially not with the invention of Twitter! It’s great to see so many clinicians embracing social media and using it to help their patients and provide information and insight into the medical world.

You can find out more about the App Zone and Health Apps Library by visiting the site here or by following @healthappslib on Twitter


Launching the WellHappy app


Kat Cormack, project manager, and Bruce Kynoch, Assistant Stakeholder and Marketing Manager launch the app.

Bruce and I gave a short presentation to the audience in the Appzone to officially launch the WellHappy app. This involved talking about the app, where it came from, whose ideas went into it, who helped us develop it and what it was like working on a project of this kind.

We also gave a quick demonstration to the audience on how to use the app and encouraged people to download it from Google Play or the Apple App Store.

Joining us were colleagues from LivingWellBrightLemon and Digital White, our design and development companies who have been so integral to the making and launching of the WellHappy app. It was great to have their support on the day and to have them around to answer any technical questions people might have.

People also had a chance to try out the app on tablets at the event and give us feedback right there and then. It was great to see people trying out the app, searching for services near them and then going to download it on their own phones! All the feedback we got was incredibly positive and it was good to hear clinicians say how useful even they would find an app like ours!

It just shows that WellHappy can be used by anyone, you don’t need to be a young person to find the information in it useful and if you work with young people, whether you are a youth worker, doctor, nurse or a teacher in London it is worth a look.


A few weeks ago i blogged about how you could  Celebrate World Mental Health Day in London. I was lucky enough to be able to do just that and found myself on the 10th of October at Camden’s Real Talk event titled “Mad, Bad or Sad”.

The event brought together more than 60 young people from Camden and a range of organisations for a dynamic, interactive debate on mental health at Camden Council. Young people were asked a range of questions such as “when you hear “mental health” what do you think?” and “would you tell your friends if you had a mental health problem in the past” and responded by voting with keypads; a really great way to use technology to involve people in open, honest debate.

The event was hosted by Brooke Kinsella (@brookekinsella), star of Eastenders and anti-knife crime campaigner and Luc Skyz (@LucSkyz), London rapper but i must say the real stars of the show were the young people.

I attended the event as a member of YoungMinds staff and had my own stall full of information, freebies and sweets (which proved to be very popular!). I spoke to so many young people and told them what we get up to at the nations leading children and young people’s mental health charity and a lot of people expressed an interest in getting involved.

I also got to tell the young people i spoke to about the app i am currently developing with NHS London and there was a lot of interest, young people told me they wouldn’t necessarily know where to go if they needed help or were worried about a friend; something i hear time and time again. It was good to hear that there is a genuine need and want for the app we are working on and i hope that when it is released it helps.

My favourite part of Real Talk was sitting in on the debate “Mad, Bad or Sad” and it was really interesting to hear directly from young people what they think mental health is and how they perceive mental illness and those that suffer from it.

There were some very revealing comments and some great questions; hopefully we busted some stigmas and it was great just to be able to talk openly about mental health with people who might not necessarily think twice about it otherwise.

Overall it was a fantastic event and i am so glad i was able to be a part of it. I’d like to thank the organisers and all the young people that attended.

#TalkOut with young people

#TalkOut with young people

Last Sunday saw our first ever live discussion on Twitter for young people affected by mental health problems. The title of our talks is #TalkOut and will be something we run on a regular basis alongside Youth Mental Health (@time4recovery) and Talk Out (@Talk_Out).

We  decided to look at the impact of social media on mental health issues and recovery and it was an undeniable success, so much so that it was very difficult to keep up with multiple conversations all at once!

We had a real mix of people too, Twitter cutting through hierarchies often found in clinical settings and opening up the door for young people and adults to talk openly and honestly about their experiences of mental illness and the internet.

This is of course something that is of huge interest to me personally. For me the internet had a powerful role in my mental health both in terms of illness and recovery and i think it is an area that needs much more attention given to it.

All too often, or in fact from what i see in mainstream media, the internet is reported as a dangerous place, a cyber wilderness or even wasteland populated by Innocent children and Bad adults. Pornography, gambling, bullying; these are all things that make headlines and sell papers (or get more “hits” online) but they are not the whole story, not by a long shot.

For me (and judging by Saturday’s conversation a lot of other young people) the internet was a safe place and at times the only place i could go. I did not abuse the anonymity granted to us when we step into the World Wide Web, i used it to use a voice i could not find IRL or “In Real Life”. In fact it was on the internet, in one of those infamous chat rooms the tabloids love to condemn that i found others like me, first opened up. It was because of strangers i met online that i sought help for my mental health problems in the first place.

Stories like these don’t sell papers but they do have a place and they do deserve to be told. The internet is one of, if not the, most powerful tools we have created and it has almost infinite uses, and i can’t stress this enough, some of them are good, some of them save lives.

Similarly i saw an inspirational talk on TED recently about a text messaging service in the US which has had resounding success:

We talked about how the internet and social media had affected our own recovery:

“[It] took me years to seek help for #mentalhealth problems, only did because friends online told me to and told me how #TalkOut

And what could be done to help others:

“Social Media not only helps by providing a platform for awareness & support accounts but also for ppl to talk to each other/friends #TalkOut

“I think if schools had a forum for students to discuss MH it would benefit pupils 🙂 #TalkOut

In my experience somehow utilising social media to help pupils would be great, I know it would have helped me enormously #TalkOut

You can read more comments from #TalkOut here at Storify:

Overall we had some amazing, insightful and even inspirational conversations around the internet, social media and recovery and made some new friends along the way.

“Perhaps now’s the time to change this. A community is louder than 1 advocate, more resounding as one united voice #TalkOut

In the future we are hoping to hold bi-weekly Talk Outs on Thursday and Saturday evenings, please follow us at @vikproject or me directly at @KittyCormack and remember to look out for and use the #TalkOut hashtag.

The Trouble with Moody Teens

Hello everyone,

Just to say an interview that i did with Miranda Sawyer earlier this year on young people and depression is airing Friday 11th May at 11:00a.m. on BBC Radio 4.

Here is the synopsis:

In every school class, at least one teenager will need urgent treatment for clinical depression. With thousands of under-16s on anti-depressants, there is concern that mental health problems amongst youngsters are on the rise. So what is the difference between typical teen behaviour and something more serious?

Presenter Miranda Sawyer hears from young people who speak frankly about their thoughts and feelings, often hidden from those around them. She talks to parents, teachers and experts to find out what are the first signs that a teenager is suffering from clinical depression – and asks why it is sometimes so difficult to spot those early symptoms.

In this programme, teenagers speak about the increasing pressures of growing up today – from school, home and friends – and Miranda asks why do some teenagers cope with these pressures whilst others spiral down into depression? How much are social networking and today’s economic climate to blame and how much of the illness is hereditary?

At school, some teachers may dismiss early signs of depression as bad behaviour or lack of attention in class, but increasingly secondary schools like Bradley Stokes near Bristol have a specialist unit and strategies in place to identify vulnerable pupils and refer them early for psychological help.

Often social stigma and guilt make it difficult for teenagers and parents to come forward and GPs may initially put problems down to adolescence, while child and adolescent mental health services (CAHMS) can be patchy and oversubscribed. Miranda investigates the treatment available and finds out how charities like Young Minds support both teenagers with mental health problems and worried parents.