MiHUB is an innovative technology-based project that aims to support young people’s wellbeing and resilience. It is part of our wider Future Challenges programme.
ProReal, Wiltshire Council and the Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group are working together and using virtual reality technology to supplement current mental health approaches. The MiHUB partnership project aims to help young people set out visual representations of everyday situations, and in doing it can help them to express complex thoughts and feelings and help build resilience for later in life.
How the programme works
MiHUB capitalises on ProReal’s established immersive, avatar-based virtual world platform. The platform offers young people a choice of specific situations or problems that they are finding challenging. They are then guided to build visual representations of how they, and others, see the world. The technology helps them to describe their thoughts and feelings as well as take other perspectives, and this can help with different ‘real world’ decisions and choices.
Royal Wootton Bassett Academy in Wiltshire, supported by Wiltshire Council and Wiltshire CCG is trialling MIHUB with a range of students from Years 7, 8 and 9.
The first phase of the trial involved co-production with the students and ran from January to March 2020. This allowed young people to work closely with ProReal’s developers to refine and test the platform to be suitable for their use, focusing on their needs and preferences. The project was put on hold from March due to school closures in response to Covid-19.
It is anticipated that phase two of the project will recommence as soon as possible, when all Year 8 students will be given the opportunity to be introduced to the updated platform. Students will be able to fully explore the self-help modules to help them understand their own emotions around particular problems they face. Young people will also be able to access additional support from others as well as online wellbeing resources as appropriate. The trial will provide the opportunity for detailed evaluation, to assess whether the platform could be used more widely to support young people’s wellbeing and resilience.
Building an evidence base
MiHUB is one of two projects being piloted under the theme of ‘Young People and Mental Health Resilience’ which forms part of the Future Challenges programme. Through this programme, we work closely with innovators and local partners including clinicians, commissioners and the chosen trial sites to pilot their innovations and evaluate them in a real-world setting, building evidence to support possible future commissioning decisions and opportunities.
We will also be working with the Wessex Centre for Implementation Science to independently evaluate this project