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South West London’s new mental health strategy looks to “better co-ordinate digital initiatives across the ICS”

A new mental health strategy from South West London ICB has been released, highlighting plans to utilise digital tools and services to meet the needs of local communities and “better co-ordinate digital initiatives across the ICS to ensure a joined-up approach”.

The mental health strategy will link with the wider South West London ICS programmes, with particular focus around workforce, population health management and digital technology.

Commenting on “the increasing role digital technology plays in healthcare”, the strategy acknowledges that “digital tools such as internet resources, mobile apps, online services and video consultations can augment traditional service delivery and access to support”. It considers the “solid foundation of digital delivery” brought about by the pandemic which has remained in use since then, including commissioned platforms such as an online mental health resource directed at children and young people, and virtual consultations.

The strategy highlights a need to better coordinate across the ICS to ensure a joined-up approach, committing to continuing to work with the Health Innovation Network to identify and review opportunities for further innovation and technology use. In addition, it shares a pledges to monitor usage and outcomes from digital resources and continue to develop new approaches, ensuring that all digital elements are reviewed and approved to maintain quality standards.

The ICB also acknowledges the importance of tackling digital exclusion. As part of the strategy development, a survey was distributed to service users asking about how they maintain good mental health and where they turn if they start to experience poor mental health; feedback indicated that at present, digital tools do not score highly. The strategy states that the ICB “will work to ensure people who want to access digital resources have opportunities to do so”.

With regards to population health management, the strategy pinpoints a need to develop an appropriate approach and bring together experts in the area. It highlights plans to work with colleagues from informatics teams to review data and address gaps, focusing on earlier in the patient pathway.

In our feature series, we looked at what’s happening in digital and data in areas of London, looking at the plans, projects and programmes in place across North Central London ICS, North East London ICS, North West London ICS, South East London ICS and South West London ICS.

To read the South West London mental health strategy in full, please click here.