If you’re a practitioner you might be worried about the internet. You might think it will make your job harder; using digital can make your job easier. We’re used to having very limited information to give people, for example a one-size-fits-all leaflet. Well, there’s much more information online. With more information you can have discussions with someone about what is best for them in their particular circumstance. There’s a lot of evidence that people who have more information will be better informed and have better outcomes.  But there’s so much online, where do you start? Start with MindWell; MindWell is the ‘go-to’ place for mental health information in Leeds. It’s been produced with clinicians, service users and members of the public, so it’s been developed in plain English and it’s very easy to use. All the content is NHS approved; it’s gone through a clinical process so everything on there can be trusted.

You can use MindWell in different ways. At the end of a consultation you might give someone a MindWell card and say go and have a look at this. You might find some helpful stuff.  You could text or email them useful links, or you could show people how they can use it to get the information they need. It’s got information about how to manage anxiety, about what it’s like to go for a first appointment. People can use it to find support quickly; it’s like a map of mental health services in Leeds. Once you’ve shown it to people, it’s almost like opening a door and saying, here you are. Go and explore. Go and find what’s out there for you.

Often you’ll see someone who says I’m really worried about my mum, my brother or my sister, what can I do? Well, MindWell has a section, I’m looking for someone else; it can demystify mental health; and you can use it to help you as a practitioner. It has information about referrals which should help to get people to the right place in the system. There’s information about third sector services too.

Think of MindWell as the up-to-date version of your mental health directory that you may have on the back of a dusty shelf somewhere in your surgery. But it’s not just a directory, it’s so much more. MindWell is just the start. There are many digital tools that you might find useful and could recommend. Take a look on the NHS app store.

 If we give people the information they need, they can become more informed and we can work together to help them live well and get the treatment and care that works for them.