My Topol fellowship problem / project:

I am interested in exploring the potential for digital innovation to improve young people’s
mental health.

Key challenges are:
– Knowing what digital interventions are useful,
– for which young people these may be suitable
– how to disseminate and allocate these resources

These could be addressed by:
• Understanding existing links between digital engagement of young people and clinical
outcomes (i.e. through analysis of routinely collected data)
• Greater knowledge of available digital interventions
• Improved accessibility to digital therapeutics
• Targeted delivery methods to the individual young person
• Digital education and training for mental health professionals

Digital solutions to the mental health needs of the population are becoming more prevalent,
with increased acknowledgement of the potential for taking evidence-based interventions to scale. Mental health access is not always equitable, and a challenge with digital advancements is to ensure that young people have equal opportunities for digital access and barriers to this do not perpetuate existing mental health inequalities. Despite rapid development in the digital mental health field, there are no pathways to tailor the use of digital interventions to the individual, potentially limiting access to evidence based healthcare.

During the fellowship I would like to work with stakeholders to explore how we could match digital resources (i.e. online information, wellbeing apps) and therapeutics (i.e. evidence based interventions) to the reported difficulties of the individual young person. This could be particularly valuable to the ‘waiting’ population who, due to such rapidly increasing demand, may not have access to traditional care as early as they need.

I graduated from Brighton and Sussex Medical School in 2012. After foundation medical training I then completed Core Psychiatry Training in 2017 and continued on the Maudsley Training Programme as a higher trainee in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

In 2017 I was appointed a National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Academic Clinical Fellow in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. I completed a PGCert in Applied Research Methods at King’s College London, with Distinction, and started working with colleagues at the Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre (BRC). In 2019 I was awarded an NIHR Maudsley BRC Preparatory Fellowship, which I used to pursue my research interests in young people’s online activity, digital interventions and the use of Natural Language Processing for electronic health records.

I am currently working as a Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist for the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust in a busy outpatient Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS). I see patients with a variety of presentations including: depression, anxiety, ADHD, autism and psychosis.