Nearly all children between the age of 3-17 went online at some point in 2021 and 72% used a mobile phone. By the age of seven, 53% of children in the UK own a mobile phone*.
We believe the use of digital tools has a powerful part to play in improving health outcomes for younger generations and the team at Compass, a charity providing NHS-commissioned health and wellbeing services for children and young people, agree. Compass specialise in prevention and early intervention and with the current need in children and young people’s mental health, increasing access to their services is vital.
Where did the idea come from?
When Compass were commissioned to provide a new service in Wakefield, they thought long and hard about how to increase access for the children and young people who might need their service and how to do this in a way that would bridge health inequalities. The Compass website is well used but with young people increasingly using mobile phones to access services, an app felt like another good way to reach them, in a way that they know and like. It felt important that children and young people could access everything all in one place.
“We wanted to ensure that every young person in Wakefield has timely access to early help for their emotional health and wellbeing needs. The app will ensure that young people are able to access services better and faster and have a positive experience.” Rachel Bundock, CEO.
Working in partnership
Compass partnered with Visiba from the outset when pathways were being agreed and the service set up. Visiba and Compass worked closely to fully understand the pathways and design an app that was created to make access as easy as possible. Making sure that children and young people in all sections of the community were able to access services virtually was important.
“Mapping our pathways was quite challenging, but in a good way, because it made us think about our services in a different way and made us question things” Saffron Mason, Implementation Manager.
Implementation and adoption
Once we’d agreed how the app would work in the pathway, implementation was reasonably straightforward. Services are always tailored to local needs so getting the local service manager as well as local children and young people involved was important.
The app, named in consultation with young people, is called ‘Wakey Wellness’. For those not familiar with Wakefield or its young people – Wakefield is known as ‘Wakey’. Children and young people were also involved in trialing the app and providing feedback to refine it.
The Wakey Wellness app
The free app has just launched and provides a virtual ‘one-stop-shop’ for children, young people and families in Wakefield who would like information, up-to-date guidance and support with emotional health and wellbeing.
Wakey Wellness will also provide access to a round-the-clock text messaging support service as well as enable people to book slots for online wellbeing drop-ins with the service’s Wellbeing Practitioners. Families, carers and young people can also fill out an online form to request support via goals-based one-to-one or group support.
“We know children and young people spend so much time online. With Wakey Wellness, children, young people and families in Wakefield can get information and advice 24/7 on a range of health and wellbeing topics including worries, sadness, managing emotions and healthy relationships with their peers.” Jane Wright, Assistant Director at Compass.
Schools and community partner organisations can use the app to book consultation sessions with a Compass practitioner or to request support on behalf of a child, young person or family.
Jane added: “The emotional health and wellbeing of our younger generation is a priority for everyone. We hope this new app will help give children, young people and families the strategies and tools they need to live happy healthy lives, build resilience and feel supported and safe. The efficiencies created by having online forms for example, will free up time for our staff – further improving access”
Compass will be promoting the new app with children, young people, families, communities and partners online, through commissioners and at events throughout the year.
A fully supported process
Visiba always work closely with partners – from the initial idea through to implementation, adoption and evaluating success. We understand that the process can seem daunting and that our partners have little capacity for additional workload. We work hard to ensure that our customers are reassured that the project will be delivered safely and with patients and service users always front of mind. We were thrilled with Saffron’s summation of the project:
‘Right from the outset Visiba were great at guiding us through the process step by step. They were really responsive and honestly, we’d never have got to where we are by ourselves. Throughout the process the Visiba team made us feel safe and supported.” Saffron Mason, Implementation and Project Manager.