New Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group portal provides pilot mental health support for young people

Wednesday 2 September, 2020

Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has partnered with MeeTwo to provide specialist support to young people in areas Somerset by creating a unique portal which sits inside the MeeTwo app.

MeeTwo is a multi-award winning, fully moderated, mental help app for young people aged 11-25. The peer support model enables young people to talk about difficult things, and to help themselves by helping each other. Reciprocity allows young people to transform their own difficult life experiences into useful advice for others.

The pilot is commissioned by CCG working in partnership with Public Health, Education Inclusion, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and Young Somerset.

It is now available for children and young people aged 11-18 with the following postcodes:

· BA20 – BA22

· BA6

· TA1 – TA3

· TA10

· TA18

The portal will enable young people to connect directly to the support services offered by Somerset CCG including Young Somerset, KOOTH, 2BU, Mindline, ChatHealth and LifeBeat.

After six months the pilot will be reviewed with the aim of expanding to more postcodes in Somerset.

One of the best ways for a young person to improve their wellbeing is to share how they are feeling. The multi-award winning MeeTwo app makes it easy to talk about difficult things, and to get support.

Dr Theresa Foxton, GP clinical lead for children’s and young adult’s mental health at Somerset CCG said

“There is growing evidence of the benefits of the use of trained Peer Support Workers in the field of mental health such as MeeTwo. There is a different relationship between professional and patient, where the professional is the ‘expert’ and prescribes what is good for “the patient” compared to peer support. The support worker is able to provide help and support from a position of lived experience and can genuinely say ‘I know how you feel’.

It benefits both the peer support giver and the recipient. Recipients often report a greater feeling of empathy and respect whereas peer support workers often gain increasing levels of self-esteem, confidence and positive feelings that they are doing good. Peer-support workers also often experience an increase in their own ability to cope with mental health problems.

One young person working as a peer support worker that I spoke to recently had benefitted greatly from this approach themselves and was motivated to go on and train to deliver support to others in a similar position.

Peer support can be helpful on its own, or it can be something to try alongside treatments like talking therapies or medication. It can also be a helpful way of getting support if you are on a waiting list for one of these treatments. I am a big fan of this approach to delivering care and support, and am looking forward to seeing how the pilot can positively benefit young people with mental health and wellbeing concerns in Somerset.”

The app is safe because all posts and replies are checked by human moderators before they go live, and in-house counsellors provide extra support if it is needed. MeeTwo is featured on the NHS Apps Library and currently supports over 36,000 young people from across the UK. It can be downloaded from the App Store and Google Play.

“I actually didn’t realise how much better this app can make someone feel. I love being able to ask my own questions and just the experience of trying to help even one other person helps me to feel happier too” MeeTwo User

MeeTwo have also launched a new directory in the app, which gives young people the tools to help themselves, and each other. The directory provides access to 24/7 crisis support and specialist services including Crisis. The directory also includes a selection of books, videos, apps and Ted Talks, as well as personal stories about the issues that affect young people.

Peer support has been shown to improve quality of life, wellbeing, social networks, self-esteem and social functioning, alongside reductions in hospital admission rates and use of hospital emergency services.

Support from Young Somerset, KOOTH, 2BU, Mindline, ChatHealth and LifeBeat, can also be accessed via their websites for children and young people not based in the pilot postcodes.

Mental health options available for young people in Somerset: