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Our mission at Mental Health Innovations is to combine data-driven analysis, clinical expertise and technological innovation to develop and sustain pioneering digital products and services that meet underserved needs and that improve the mental health of the UK population. Our partnerships with others in the sector are essential to achieving our mission.

How our partnerships work

One example of our many partnerships centres around research development and dissemination to contribute to the improvement of the UK’s mental health. We create placement projects with other mental health organisations and universities to offer students a collaborative and engaging environment to develop their skills. Students integrate clinical theory, evidence-based research and digital innovation to understand unique aspects of mental health.

We recently hosted an Emerging Minds cross-sector placement, early career researcher. Emerging Minds is a research network that aims to reduce the prevalence of mental health problems experienced by children and young people. It is committed to supporting early career researchers with funded cross-sector placements.

Facilitating student research into suicide prevention

The researcher we worked with, Carolina Guzman Holst, a PhD student at the University of Oxford, was interested in understanding what factors contributed to suicide de-escalation in young, imminent risk texters.

Carolina carried out an investigation using anonymised texts from young people who had initiated a text conversation with the Shout service and expressed a wish, plan, means and timeframe to attempt suicide to a volunteer.

The Shout service is powered by volunteers who are supported by clinical supervisors when taking conversations. As part of her investigation, Carolina conducted interviews with both volunteers and clinical supervisors to understand their experiences of suicide prevention and intervention on the Shout platform. This has provided insight into what can be very challenging and delicate conversations with often extremely vulnerable individuals.

How we’re using this research

The findings from this work are now being used to enhance training and support for volunteers and to generate knowledge that is of broad interest to those working in suicide prevention.

We have disseminated the findings through our internal communication networks with staff and volunteers, as well as external networks including partners and funders.

The Emerging Minds scheme is crucial to cross-sector work, serving as a source of capacity-building in the digital mental health sector, and proved to be mutually beneficial for all those involved.

"It was a remarkable experience to work at Mental Health Innovations. I witnessed first-hand the effort and dedication that volunteers, supervisors, and dedicated teams at MHI devoted to Shout, and their commitment to help support thousands of individuals across the nation struggling with mental health issues.

Mental Health Innovations is not only actively engaging in conversations with the government, agencies, and academics about important issues such as suicide, but they are also informing research and policy, promoting public engagement, fundraising new mental health initiatives, and finding new ways to improve training and awareness for their volunteers to provide potentially life-saving support.

I feel very lucky that I had the opportunity to take part in an Emerging Minds x Mental Health Innovations placement and witness first-hand the impact of Shout. As a doctoral student in psychology, it was an invaluable opportunity to learn from this collaboration about how to integrate clinical practice, evidence-based research, and digital innovation to understand unique aspects of young people’s mental health."

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Carolina Guzman Holst

PhD student, University of Oxford

To find out more about our research partnerships please contact our Director of Data Insights, Mark Ungless.

For information about our other partnerships please contact our Director of Income, Caroline Westley.