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The need for mental health support, particularly for children and young people, has never been greater. Currently, more than 20% of young people aged 17 to 24 years old have a probable mental disorder; one in four young women report having self-harmed at some point; and suicide is the leading cause of death in under 35s. At the same time, we are witnessing dramatic technological breakthroughs in data science and AI that offer transformative benefits to society - but how can we harness these new technologies to better help more people with their mental health?

Mental Health Innovations, supported by Google and others, is at the forefront of this intersection of societal need and technological development. Our vision is that everyone in the UK has access to the digital mental health services that they need and can access appropriate, high-quality support quickly and efficiently through the power of technology. To achieve this, we are embracing the most powerful new developments in data science, machine learning, and generative AI.

In this report, we examine four examples of how AI innovation can help those with mental health difficulties and, in respect of each, reflect on its application to Mental Health Innovations’ services.