£60m of digital mental health funding goes on exemplars

Image: Six mental health global digital exemplars will receive £60 million in funding as part of mental health policy package.


New digital mental health money announced by the prime minister will go almost exclusively on funding a new round of global digital exemplar trusts.

During a speech at the annual Charity Commission lecture in London on Monday, Theresa May committed £67.7 million to digital mental health service as part of wider mental health announcements.

However, information provided to Digital Health News by the Department of Health shows that £60 million will go on creating six new mental health global digital exemplars.

The department said each of these trusts will spend up to £10 million to become an exemplar trust and provide a blueprint for other, less advanced, trusts to follow. However, Digital Health News understands only £5 million of this money will come from the centre, with trusts expected to raise the other half themselves.

Digital Health News first reported that the controversial exemplar programme, which singles out already digitally advanced trusts for central funding priority, would be extended to six mental health trusts in December.

The first 12 acute exemplar trusts, described as an “Ivy Leagues” of digital trusts, were announced in September last year but the programme was criticised but being too acute focused.

The remaining £7.7 million funds will be spent on a handful of other mental health digital programmes that were outlined in the government’s response to the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health, released in coincide with May’s speech.

Most of these programmes, including the new digital exemplars, will be drawn from the £4.2 billion NHS technology fund that health secretary Jeremy Hunt announced in February last year.

The one exception is £3 million of new funding to trial digitally assisted therapy.

Other programmes announced include:

*Another £3 million to pilot digitally-assisted Cognitive Behavioural Therapy as part of the  Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme.

*£900,000 for an app to improve communication between mental health services while handling a person during a mental health crisis.

*£500,000 invested in developing six “digital tools” for children and young people dealing with mental health. This will form part of the NHS app library, the deadline for which has been pushed out to April this year. It is not the first time the government has tried to set-up a mental health app resource and a list of endorsed mental health apps is already available through NHS Choices.

*£300,000 on improving mental health content on nhs.uk, the successor to NHS Choices.

Last updated: 10 January 2017 10:41