TEAM, a new €4 million research and training network focused on developing new technologies to support the provision of mental health services for young people, was announced at University College Dublin (UCD).
TEAM (Technology Enabled Mental Health for Young People), a 4-year Innovation Training Network (ITN), is being funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions initiative.
Numerous international studies conclude that many people experiencing mental health difficulties do not have access to appropriate support. Young people have been identified as being particularly vulnerable and requiring specific attention. Research suggests that 50% of mental disorders emerge by 14 years of age. Untreated difficulties at a young age also triple the likelihood of further difficulties in later life.
TEAM, which brings together a multi-disciplinary network of mental health experts, computer scientists, designers and policy experts from five countries, (Austria, Denmark, Ireland, Spain and the UK) will provide a unique doctoral training and research platform for 15 PhD students.
Pictured at University College Dublin is Dr David Coyle, TEAM project co-ordinator, and a researcher in human computer interaction at UCD’s School of Computer Science. (Nick Bradshaw, Fotonic).
The overall objective of the TEAM network is to train this new generation of researchers who can help to deliver more effective, affordable and accessible mental health services for young people. The network will also focus on the design, development and evaluation of new technology enabled mental health services.
TEAM, led by University College Dublin, involves nine partners; four universities (Technical University of Denmark, Technical University Vienna, University of Glasgow and UCD); two university hospitals (Medical University Vienna, Psychiatric Centre Copenhagen (Region Hovedstaden)), two not-for-profit organisations (The Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, ReachOut Ireland Ltd); and one industry research laboratory (Telefonica Alpha).
TEAM will also collaborate closely with additional partners including national mental health charities and innovative technology companies.
Dr David Coyle, TEAM project co-ordinator, and a researcher in human computer interaction at UCD’s School of Computer Science said, “We are not going to address all of the challenges in youth mental health in just four years. But we do aim to train a new generation of researchers, with a unique combination of skills, who will be at the forefront of this challenge in the coming decades.”
He added, “Technology can play an important role in improving mental health services, but only if we get the details right. It was critical that TEAM had an appropriate balance of mental health experts, computer scientists and designers. Throughout the project we will work in close partnership with mental health services and with people with experiences of mental health difficulties.”
The TEAM research programme is built around four key themes: assessment, prevention, treatment and policy. It aims to deliver new technologies that can support rapid, early and large-scale assessment, prevention and treatment of mental health difficulties in young people.
To help realise the potential of technology in this area, whilst also addressing the potential risks, TEAM will also investigate policy directions and guidelines for technologies designed to support youth mental health.