keywords: European, concept, vision, portal, website, gate, first step, guide, mental care, mental health, mental illnesses, psychology, psychotherapy, psychiatry, social work, navigation, orientation, education, well-being, suicides

The problem overview

The project responds to the current crisis around COVID-19 and at the same time to the fragmentation and inconsistency of mental health care. People are often confused about what to do when they are facing mental health problems.

Unknown situations, stress, anxiety, unemployment, and loss of feeling of safety are arising day by day and with this, the need for mental health support is also growing. This is even more true now, during the COVID-19 crisis and this demand will grow even more when the quarantine is over.

Diverse and confusing information often results in people not seeking help on time. As a result, the course of the mental health problem becomes worse and can hinder functionality or even lead to an otherwise preventable death (in the case of suicides).

There are many projects and initiatives, but they often focus on only one area of ​​mental care.

Main aim

For reaching out for proper mental health care, a good and reliable source of information and contacts is crucial. The proposed portal is intended to simplify orientation for ordinary people.

Each year in Europe

  • 56 000 deaths were due to intentional self-harm
  • 14% of all hospital beds were psychiatric care
  • up to 50% of chronic sick leaves are due to depression/anxiety
  • €170 bil. cost of mood disorders and anxiety (numbers before COVID-19)

Suggested solution

To make information simply available to all those who are interested in or need it and enable people seeking help to be put in touch with the professionals they are looking for in a very comfortable and simple way. Our concept furthermore responds to situations (e.g. healthcare systems) in different EU countries.

Development steps

  1. Collect a database with links to organizations, projects, professionals associations for the inter-connection of professionals and help-seeking persons.
  2. Create a team of experts that will guarantee the content and links added to the knowledge database do not contain wrong information or any information that could possibly lead to any damage.
  3. Create a knowledge database of mental health care information, sort it.
  4. Develop portal - the informational part of the website includes the avatar guided tour through the information the solution offers. This will be the core of the solution and the same for all countries.

Workflow

To get any information a help-seeking person could use the avatar guided smart navigation. The avatar is not a chatbot, only a guide that makes your seeking more pleasant and comfortable.

  1. First visit - you don’t know what you should do. Avatar will help you with basic orientation on the portal.
  2. Navigate - if you want the Avatar will than lead you via questions or questionnaire to be able to help you find what you need.
  3. Direction - at the end of this process you know who to contact and where.

Interaction

To connect help-seeking persons and professionals the database will include a country-specific service where professionals can register themselves to be a participant within the HelpNET.

Each user (professional or not) can add link to new projects or organizations involved in mental health care that is then moderated by experts.

#EUvsVirus

During the weekend, we consulted the structure of the portal and its variations in different countries. The discussion showed that care in different countries is too specific to create a single pan-European portal.

The key idea is to create unified European concept of a portal that can be implemented in different member states and where people can find all information and links about mental health care institutes in their country.

Impact to the crisis

Creating a uniform and clear navigation at the member state level will lead to better access to care and faster orientation of people in this area.

The current crisis due to COVID-19 in Europe has a very strong impact on the human psyche. Mental health issues are escalating during this time, and helping to prevent them keeps the society functional.

It also helps to avoid additional negative economic consequences by keeping health care costs lower and preventing workforce losses.

Future work

To cooperate with professional organizations in the field of mental health, which will guarantee the content and reliability of the portal. The portal should be managed by a non-profit organization or a member state.

Estimated costs for developing a prototype of the solution will be around 50.000 - 60.000 €.

Funding model

  • funded by EU, grants, donations or directly by the Health Ministries of interested EU countries
  • charge professional organizations to post links / be linked to customers through our platform - could be a membership fee
  • could establish contracts with employers who would like to include mental health support in the employee assistance service
  • the government in case of universal health insurance may be interested as this will lead to lower healthcare costs especially from patient hospitalizations

Summary

  1. The aim of this project is to help people, who are experiencing mental health problems due to the current COVID-19 crisis, to tackle these problems, and to find the right contacts for adequate professional consultation. This can lead to lower expenses for later treatment.

  2. In the long term, beyond the COVID-19 crisis, it aims to support people facing mental health problems in how to make the very first steps.

  3. The project also supports the United Nations Sustainability Goal number 3, health and well-being.

Thanks

Thanks to #EUvsVirus organizers, mentors, our teammates, co-workers, and professional consultants, platform Cesko.Digital and COVID19CZ.cz and all people interested in this problem. Share and stay tuned!

” It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness. ”

Picture credits: pixabay, Dominika Cechova, Rouven Haas

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