Digital service for mental healthcare growing in US

Big White Wall, a digital mental health service created in the United Kingdom that has been used extensively with military families and others, is expanding to the United States.

It's designed to empower people to seek assistance for their mental health challenges for the first time, and can be used as a stand-alone service, a wrap-around for those waiting for conventional care, to help with medication adherence and to prevent readmission for those leaving acute care. It complements and integrates with conventional care services, according to a Health Affairs Blog post.

Participants are offered personalized care pathways driven by machine learning algorithms, including data correlating depression and anxiety scores, along with assessments of the language they use.

The offerings may include:

  • Self-expressive art therapy (also called "creating a brick") where members use images, drawings and words to tell their personal story
  • Anonymized peer support to break through feelings of isolation and openly share personal experiences
  • Online group courses on multiple mental health topics, led by trained, experienced professionals
  • One-to-one talk therapy with a credentialed therapist. "BWW Connect" is being launched in the U.S. this year, and will offer the capability to conduct text, audio, whiteboard and video sessions on a HIPAA-secure platform

Big White Wall is working with Kaiser Permanente Northwest to provide support channels to supplement current mental healthcare. It's also designing a program for a health plan in Texas, which is to be implemented in the fall, according to the post.

Mosaic Community Services in Maryland, through its community mental health centers, is working with BWW to provide its members with peer support and self-management tools. In addition, Virtual Health Services, a subsidiary of Catholic Health Initiatives, is in discussions to provide these services as well, according to the article.

Smartphone apps that monitor human behavior, speech and voice levels, moods and social interaction are being researched as potential tools for helping those suffering from mental illness, as FierceMobileHealthcare has reported.

One recent study found that mobile health technology can prove useful in helping patients with anxiety disorders, especially when applied in conjunction with traditional clinical care.

To learn more:
- read the article