From Professor Kathryn Abel, Professor of Psychiatry and Women’s Mental Health:
The new Mental Health Clinical Research Network High Level Objective for 2016-2017 is to get more studies on the portfolio with children and young people (CYP), participants under 16 years of age.
In Manchester, along with the new perinatal strategic clinical network (SCN) and the CAMHS SCN, which feeds into NHS England policy for CAMHS, we have several fantastic pieces of work ongoing: Anja Wittkowski’s mother and baby unit study: new mothers with severe mental illness (SMI) using Triple P-Positive Parenting Program; our YoungSMILES study, developing a child-centred intervention for at risk CYP with serious parental mental illness, with the NSPCC and Barnardo’s, and Jonathan Green’s studies in autism at risk cohorts.
This links well with the government priorities we have been hearing about in the news with regard to children and young people’s mental health.
From Professor Shôn Lewis, Professor of Adult Psychiatry:
In collaboration with a multi-disciplinary team of colleagues from the University of Manchester and a service user advisory group, I led the research and development of a smartphone app called ClinTouch.
The ClinTouch app helps people, with serious mental illness (SMI), monitor and manage their own symptoms and predict and prevent relapse.
ClinTouch has been used in clinical trials for people with SMI and we recently completed the CareLoop randomised controlled trial (RCT).
CareLoop involved integrating ClinTouch with the electronic patient record systems of two mental health trusts in Manchester and South London, thus providing a complete end-to-end loop of care from service users directly through to clinical teams. This trial showed a number of positive outcomes for service users and clinical teams, such as a faster improvement in psychotic symptoms, over 12 weeks compared with standard care, and successful detection of early warning signs of relapse.
As a result of our randomised trials, ClinTouch now has a wealth of evidence to support its safety, acceptability, validity and effectiveness. This puts us ahead in the competitive arena of health apps, many of which do not have clinical evidence to support them.
Following the positive results of the CareLoop trial, we set up a spin-out social enterprise company, called Affigo CIC, to commercialise ClinTouch, make it more widely available to more people with SMI and enable us to engage with the NHS and third sector providers of mental health services.
Affigo CIC was recently awarded some funding under the GM AHSN Innovation Nexus Momentum programme enabling us to upscale ClinTouch in Greater Manchester, in partnership with the new Greater Manchester Mental Health Foundation Trust.
We have also secured a place on the prestigious DigitalHealth.London Accelerator programme which, in conjucntion with the London AHSNs and the Health Innovation Network, offers support to accelerate the update of new innovations in the NHS.