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Digital hub aims to improve youth mental health

The project is taking place in Northern Ireland. This is a digital “hub” that aims to improve the mental health of young people living in the province. According to PharmaPhorum, about 20 percent f young people in Northern Ireland suffer mental health problems, with the peak being hit by the time young people reach the age of eighteen.

In Northern Ireland the proportion of those with mental ill health issues is assessed as being 25 percent higher compared to other parts of the U.K. Within Northern Ireland, the rates are highest in the Northern Zone.

To help address this, the new hub initiative will provide digital platforms, offered via a bespoke website, for young people. The service will also be made available to the families of youngsters and the medical and healthcare professionals who support them. Funding is provided by the Northern Area Mental Health Initiative, a charitable organization that receives government funding.

The hub was launched in March 2018, with Northern Area MHI (@NorthernAreaMHI) tweeting: “The @northernareamhi’s new digital hub offers information on how to look after mental health & wellbeing, how to access local help when needed and provides a range of resources including tips and coping strategies. Visit https://t.co/ophlLkgPUc for more info pic.twitter.com/KnEDiLeuOr”.

The hub consists of several platforms, with each platform providing information about how to support and address different aspects mental health and wellbeing. There is also information about accessing local support facilities, plus online resources such as best practice tips and coping strategies.

The scheme also provides for two-way interaction, with the functionality to enable young people to make their voices heard. This includes running surveys, the ability to lobby local policy makers, and also to allow young people to link up with each other for mutual support. Such peer-to-peer support includes sharing advice on how to cope with bullying, the negative influences of social media, sexual exploitation, suicidal ideation, and so on. Additional; advice is provided in areas like safe Internet use.

The digital service is free at the point of use and it is targeted at people aged from eight to twenty-five years.

Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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