Social Computing and Mental Health Research Network

  • Lawson, Shaun (Primary Chief Investigator (PCI))
  • Olivier, Patrick (Chief Investigator (CI))

Project: Research

Project Description

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council - Award value: £134,705 + £92,717 (UK Pounds)
The current extent of mental health illness is estimated to cost the UK economy £105 billion per year in healthcare expenditure and lost revenue. Addressing mental health is therefore a clearly articulated priority for government. The broad use of ICT services, social media and smartphone applications has an increasingly important role to play in the delivery of clinical mental health services and in supporting societal mental health and wellbeing more generally. Indeed, for large sections of the population, and younger people in particular, the use of Social Computing technologies such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube is already informally entwined with every facet of everyday life including health and wellbeing. The expectation by the healthcare community, and by commercial software developers, therefore is that digital mobile and social technology can provide compelling, scalable and convenient access to information, social and peer support, as well as therapy and shared self-monitoring tools and services. However, there are a numerous difficult challenges associated with the design, deployment, use and evaluation of such technology in mental health settings which must be solved using multidisciplinary, rigorous and scientific methods. The research field of Social Computing broadly focusses on the user-centred design, implementation, use, and evaluation of technologies that consider social context in an increasingly digitally-connected society.

The UK's Social Computing research community therefore has a wealth of experience and expertise that is relevant to, but not typically directed at, mental health services and systems. This network will address issues of support, coordination and collaboration in this context and bring together two communities: (i) engineering and physical sciences (EPS) researchers under the broad, and inclusive, banner of Social Computing covering sub-fields of Human Computer Interaction (HCI), ubiquitous and mobile computing, and web scienc (ii) clinical scientists, healthcare professionals, commercial partners, charities, user groups and patients who are concerned with mental health and wellbeing. The network will work closely with the NIHR MindTech Healthcare Technology Co-operative (HTC) centre to engage in a range of coordinated scientific, technological, management and clinical activities to realise its overarching aim of pump-priming future UK capacity to deliver internationally-leading research at the boundaries between social computing and mental healthcare.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date1/06/1431/12/16