Tracy Parr leads Good Thinking, London’s digital mental well-being service. She is also programme director for children and young people at the Healthy London Partnership.
Tracy has a clinical background as a paediatric intensive care nurse. She has worked in London, Switzerland and Australia as well as leading an education programme in Jamaica for the charity Chain of Hope.
After moving into service development roles, Tracy was involved with designing, delivering and implementing the London Trauma System, the largest in the world. This has had significant impact in reducing mortality and morbidity from major trauma across London and the south-east.
Problem: 18% of Londoners will meet the criteria for suffering from a low level common mental health condition such as low mood, anxiety, stress or poor sleep but will not be diagnosed. Digital discovery work has found that many of these people are searching for help online but confused as to what help is available and what can be trusted.
Solution: Good Thinking was designed in response to this issue. It provides personalised online support to Londoners who are found and directed to the site through targeted digital marketing. This is a free service which supports Londoners 24/7. It offers a choice of approved apps and other digital mental health interventions to Londoners who complete a simple three-stage online questionnaire.
Scale of the project: The service is directed at all Londoners through a digital marketing campaign. The service is now being promoted through NHS Trusts, CCGs and local authorities as a free well-being service for staff. The site has new innovations such as online self-referral to IAPT services and alcohol support services. Initially aimed at adults, the service is being expanded to offer support to 16 to 17 year olds.
Desired impact: The aim of the programme is to offer 24/7 support for Londoners with low levels of mental health disorders. By early intervention, Londoners get help to support their mental health and a majority will have their symptoms reversed at an early stage, preventing progression to more serious mental ill health problems.
Progress to date: Since launching in November 2017, the service has had over 300,000 users, 425,000 visits and over 400,000 individual personalised assessments. A report to share learning from Good Thinking was published in September 2019. Data from several of the apps has demonstrated a significant and validated reduction in symptoms for those completing a specific digital intervention.
Discovery work is currently underway to expand the service to children and young people.
Part of the challenge of working in digital is liaison with a diverse range of suppliers. On joining the programme, I completed the re-procurement of the website host and provider with significant cost savings. I gained invaluable insights and support in this area from some of the mentors. This enabled me to challenge more and get added value from suppliers.
The elements of the programme that created the most value for me were the mentoring and action learning sessions. I found interactions with all 3 mentors productive and directly applicable to my work. The framework shared with us by Professor Greenhalgh was excellent and added a layer of analysis which was very helpful.
During the time I have been on the programme I have been invited to deliver a 40-minute workshop session at the Kings Fund Digital Congress around Good Thinking and participated in the Health Innovation Network conference.”