Results of a trial of the mental health app, MeeTwo, at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust show its benefits amongst young patients.
The announcement, made ahead of World Mental Health Day on 10th October, comes at a time when many young people’s lives have been turned upside down by the pandemic. Many have been forced to adjust to dramatic changes in their lives, ranging from taking classes at home with little contact with teachers and school friends, to a severely reduced social life with friends and family, and even concern about their futures and livelihoods. Some have also experienced bereavement of a loved one or increased social isolation.
The award-winning MeeTwo mental health app provides safe, fully-moderated peer support to 40,000 young people aged 11 to 25 across the UK. Created by social enterprise MeeTwo Education, the free app enables users to anonymously share their feelings and help each other in a safe, moderated digital environment. Peer support has been shown to improve quality of life, wellbeing, self-esteem and social functioning, as well as reductions in hospital admission rates and use of hospital emergency services.
Rebecca Taylor, Hospital Youth Worker, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital highlights the benefits of MeeTwo, which can be used during a patient’s stay in hospital and continue to support them once they return home: “Interventions such as MeeTwo are necessary as they allow young people the support they need in a way which feels comfortable and accessible. Anonymity also enables them to express themselves openly, as they don’t need to worry about the stigma associated with mental health and the difficulty they are facing.”
The six-month trial on the Jupiter Ward at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, which typically treats 300 – 400 young people aged 13 – 15 each month for both physical and mental health issues, evaluated the usefulness of the emotional support provided via the app in a hospital setting. A small survey was conducted with female patients aged 12 to 17 who gave a 100% positive rating to the peer support aspect of the app and the fact that it is completely safe. The expert guidance provided by MeeTwo was found to be helpful by 87% of users and 75% confirmed they liked the creative component to MeeTwo as a support mechanism to express emotions.
The MeeTwo app trial was funded by CW Innovation, a joint programme between Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and CW+, which focuses on introducing leading innovation initiatives and new technologies to the Trust’s hospitals, improving patient care and experience.