Welcome to the summer edition of the newsletter for the eMEN e-mental health project, funded through the Interreg North West European Innovation Programme.
eMEN is a six country e-mental health project with a value of €5.36million (approximately £4.5million), which will run until November 2019. This project is being led by the Netherlands with partners in Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland and the UK who combine technological, clinical, research, and policy expertise. Information and contact details for the partners are available on the project website.
What is e-mental health?
E-mental health is “the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) to support and improve mental health, including the use of online resources, social media and smartphone applications”. eMEN will be showcasing the full range of digital technologies including: apps, virtual reality, wearable devices, online treatment modules and virtual real-time therapy.
e-Mental Health in France
Compared to other North Western European countries, France appears to be a latecomer in terms of development and implementation of e-mental health. The willingness among mental health professionals to use e-mental health products and services is currently quite low. An online survey2 showed that only 21% of users reported a past or present consultation with a mental health professional during which they were signposted to a website; and 12% of the same users were advised about an app. With regards to national policy activity, the French Government presented its first national e-health strategy in summer 2016. E-mental health is not featured as a distinct area of work in this document and, more generally, policy makers and legislators have not yet addressed the issue in a coordinated way.
That being said, France has good potential for future uptake of e-mental health. The above-mentioned online survey showed that low penetration rate of smartphone and bad knowledge of IT are no longer a reality; and, therefore, do not represent an obstacle to m-Health development. Moreover, the survey results show that patients seem to trust physicians in the field of digital health. The development of e-mental health is being facilitated by several projects including eMEN.
The first seminar organized by the WHO Collaborating Centre for Research and Training in Mental Health of Lille, French partner in the eMEN project, will aim at showing what currently exists in France in terms of noteworthy e-health products and services. It will provide an opportunity for deeper reflection on the potential uses of e-mental health, and the related challenges and ethical issues, as well as on the possible development of the policy framework.
We are delighted to have an opening contribution by the French Ministry of Health and Social Affairs on the national e-health strategy 2020. The seminar will hear from a sociologist of mental health who will analyze the notion of e-mental health (often perceived as “nebulous” in France), and explain how e-mental health can be used in self-help, mental health treatment, research and education of mental health professionals. Another key-note will focus on the risks and ethical dilemmas that may arise from the use of e-mental health apps and services. The seminar will address key considerations of regulations and privacy concerns.
A number of French innovations will be presented:
• a web-based and mobile suicide prevention intervention in the general population conceived by the French National Institute for Medical Research;
• the Parisian hospital of Sainte-Anne’s use of new technologies for cognitive remediation;
• the use of telemedicine in geriatric psychiatry in Rennes (Brittany); and
• the use of web tools for mental health education and destigmatization.
Inspiring international innovation will be highlighted practices from other North Western European countries: a gamification example from Ireland (Pesky gNATS), a British app for the selfmanagement of anxiety (SAM App), and an ICT tool to screen PTSD from the Netherlands (SAM).
The seminar will take place in Paris on 13 June 2017. The detailed programme and information on the registration procedure are available here. Future eMEN events in France will be: “E-Mental Health: empowerment of users and a new role for the therapist” March 2018 - Lille; “Which future projects for e-mental health?” December 2018, Rennes; “How can e-mental health solutions participate in improving mental health services?” September 2019, Paris.
An Update on Product Selection
An important eMEN project deliverable is the development and testing of at least 5 e-mental health products, for depression, anxiety and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Through this activity eMEN will demonstrate how implementation can be done successfully. We will build on existing products because this project is about practical implementation of innovative technology. eMEN recognises that there are already many e-mental health products on the market but these have not led to their widespread uptake.
In first phase of the project (2016) a product selection checklist was developed to select the best products for further development and testing within the eMEN project. This unique checklist takes into account the different multidisciplinary implementation challenges such as: the required skills of professionals and end users, technical scalability, safety, privacy and impact. With regards to impact, eMEN partners have considered how the product would improve the situation of the professional and end user, the product’s fit within mental health systems, accessibility and affordability. This checklist underlines the fact that implementation is the biggest challenge for e-mental health, not the technology itself.
After an extensive mapping process in the partners countries a final selection of a maximum of products was made in February this year. These products were selected from an initial larger list of 18 products from different partner countries eMEN has to to deliver a minimum of 5 products by the end of the project period.
The product development and improvement process has started, and test sites are being identified. For each product we have to find a site and define how we are going to test and with whom. A number of products have been evaluated already in previous trails. At the moment, the eMEN partners are in contact with developers and potential pilots sites in Ireland, the UK, France, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. At the end of 2017 the eMEN partners will start with the implementation of the pilots.
The eMEN test pilots are innovative because they focus on practical implementation and are based on an integrated approach. This integrated approach does not only focuses on product quality and interoperability with other platforms, but also on strategic cooperation with SMEs/developers (e.g. gaming industry), cost effective methods for assessing clinical effectiveness, improving acceptance by professionals, reimbursement systems and staff training / e-mental health curriculum development.
Please join our eMEN platform LinkedIn Group (details below) to share your knowledge about e-mental health implementation.
We are still looking for innovative, wellthought-out e-mental health programs that supplement and improve the treatment of mental illness for presentation at the startup slam.
Please send a brief description of your e-mental health product (e.g. Apps, online psychotherapy programs, etc.) and a link to the product and the company website to Julia Sander (email@example.com)
Over the next three years eMEN will engage innovators, decision makers, clinicians and those with experience of using e-interventions personally. It is only through collaboration that we will be able to realise the potential of technology to support and improve mental health across Europe.
• Follow eMEN on twitter @eMEN_EU
• Check updates and register for this newsletter at http://www.nweurope.eu/emen
• Connect on LinkedIn: for anyone who is interested in eMEN and / or international e-mental health implementation: https://www. linkedin.com/showcase/11104546/ (eMEN_EU)
• Join our LinkedIn Group: exclusively for people who want to join the eMEN platform: https:// www.linkedin.com/groups/13531032 (eMEN_ EU Platform)
• Come along to one of the conferences and seminars that will take place over the next three years.
Upcoming transnational events
Each of the 6 countries will host one conference and three seminars: a total of 24 transnational events. The 2017 events will introduce participants to e-mental health and showcase products. Together they will address all aspects of e-mental health to achieve evidence based innovation, quality, access and scale.
Paris: 13 June 2017
‘State of the art in e-mental health in France and Europe’
FIAP Jean Monnet - 30 Rue Cabanis, 75014 Paris
To Register: go to the eMEN website ‘Events’.
Amsterdam: 11 July 2017
‘e-mental health implementation: technical, quality and privacy issues’
Hilton Hotel Amsterdam, Apollolaan 138, 1077 BG
To Register: http://academy.arq.org/eMen
Berlin: 12 October 2017
‘Getting in touch with digital interventions for mental health: practical insights for health professionals’
Dublin: 16 November 2017
Further information on eMEN website and twitter.
We welcome invitations to contribute to your event. Partner contact information for the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland and the United Kingdom is available at http:// www.nweurope.eu/emen.