How new technology could help people with mental health disorders

People with serious mental health problems and developmental disorders like ADHD, Tourette’s and autism could soon benefit from a new collaboration between The University of Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Healthcare.

The Institute of Mental Health, a partnership between the University and the Trust, has been awarded £800,000 funding for a new National Institute for Health Research Healthcare Technology Cooperative (NIHR HTC) to deliver new ways to diagnose and manage serious mental health disorders.

The four year project will start in January 2013 and will exploit exciting developments in biomedical engineering, computer science, cognitive neuroscience and digital technology. The research will focus on developmental disorders but also serious mood problems like depression and bi-polar syndrome.

Professor Chris Hollis, of the Institute of Mental Health, said: “This provides a remarkable opportunity to transform the care and outcomes of people suffering from mental health and neurodevelopmental disorders by harnessing new and emerging digital technologies. Typically these conditions have benefitted very little from technological innovations and they represent a huge burden of unmet need.

“The NIHR HTC will support and foster collaboration between patients, clinicians, academics and industry to both identify unmet needs and find novel technological solutions. Examples include the use of mobile phones and apps, computers and bio-sensors to support assessment, diagnosis, monitoring and therapy. Our HTC aspires to be a national hub for technological innovation in mental health care and brings together cutting edge expertise in Nottingham in computer sciences, bioengineering, clinical sciences and patient and public involvement.”

Professor Mike Cooke, CBE is Chief Executive of Nottinghamshire Healthcare: ”This is a great example of where we can use research to improve patient care. Technology is changing fast and we need to be using it to the advantage of the people who use our services. I look forward to seeing these opportunities exploited.”

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