‘In the Know’: Digital innovation 
in mental health services

Client: Tower Hamlets Clinical Commissioning Group and London Borough of Tower Hamlets

The challenge

The Mental Health Joint Commissioning Team at Tower Hamlets Clinical Commissioning Group and London Borough of Tower Hamlets undertook an extensive engagement process to inform Tower Hamlets’ Mental Health Strategy. During this process, local people said they wanted to know more about local opportunities for mental health support; and to feel better connected with what is happening in the community. There was an existing online directory of mental health services in the borough, but this wasn’t perceived to be working well by the target group.

What was needed

Based on this feedback, Tower Hamlets CCG and council identified a need to provide a more accessible and user-friendly digital presence for local mental health services.

What we did

Uscreates undertook behaviour-led user research to discover what service users wanted from the digital service directory – both in terms of how it functioned as a portal; and in terms of branding and presentation.

Taking a strong focus on UX (user experience), we worked with users to identify potential opportunities for enhancing the user experience of searching and using the online directory.

For instance, feedback identified that common search terms weren’t leading users to the information they required, even though the content they were looking for was hosted on the site. We therefore developed a range of UX improvements that made the site easier to navigate, and unlocked the information held amongst the web pages.

To support better public awareness of the site, and a stronger sense of identity and presence in the service landscape, we also undertook a process of co-designing the branding for the portal. Having listened to service users’ ideas, we worked with the project’s Branding Steering Group to develop a set of design concepts and website prototypes, to support improvements to the visual element of the portal. We created an accessible name and a strong identity for the mental health service directory,
based on the key design principles that a compelling brand should be:

  •     Engaging enough to maximise buy-in
  •     Clear enough to avoid frustration
  •     Responsive enough to adapt to changing needs and circumstances

 

Once this brand had been co-developed and approved, we created a set of unified communication outputs, including an animation, to promote the online service directory and raise awareness of the information resource amongst the local community. The website provides a one-stop information shop, with details about all free mental health and wellbeing services offered in the Tower Hamlets area. It covers services ranging from health, leisure, and education, to support, advocacy and advice. Service providers can upload their service information easily onto the website, and can manage it online for free, creating an up-to-date directory of all that the local area has to offer. 

The results

Tower Hamlets’ ‘In the Know’ website is now a strongly recognised brand, and a known online portal for helping people find local services for better mental health and wellbeing. 6 months on, Tower Hamlets CCG reported that In The Know had been instrumental to helping service providers promote their services and service users to find and access them. Overall 80% of service users found In The Know helpful, and 90% would recommend it to others.