BESTIE is an interactive online platform built by Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust. It was designed to revolutionise the way children, young people and parents get access to online support for emotional wellbeing and mental health.

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Half of all mental health problems manifest by the age of 14, with 75% by the age of 24. Almost 1 in 4 children and young people show some evidence of mental ill health (including anxiety and depression). CAMHS provides specialist mental health services to children, young people and families within Worcestershire. CAMHS fundamentally wanted to improve their design, delivery and knowledge on the digital world so that they could improve the services that they provide to young people and adults.

Therefore, the BESTIE app derived from the increasing recognition in CAMHS that there was a need for better understanding of the digital world, which is now used by many children and young people. CAMHS Service users and members of the Youth Board highlighted that whilst online resources for young people with mental health needs are increasing, many of them have been designed by adults. They also felt that the technology that the NHS have used is not comparable to the technology that they use in their daily lives, especially in terms of gaming and social media.

The ‘name’ of the app was also created by the Youth Board. BESTIE (powered by Wupwoo) was selected. The name also has a meaning behind its elements, which illustrates what is important to young people:

  • B – Balance
  • E – Energy
  • S – Support
  • – Thrive
  • I – Interactive
  • E – Evolve

The app was therefore collaboratively designed, built and developed by clinicians, IT colleagues, web designers and the Youth Board in Worcestershire, due to the amount of mental health problems in young people and the need to understand the digital world better.

Impact & Outcomes

There are many positive outcomes and impacts from the BESTIE project. Firstly, the app was collaboratively designed, built and developed by young people, clinicians and IT experts. This allowed an input of young people who welcomed the opportunity to share their expertise and experience. The project aims to help young people better manager their health needs and make services easily accessible.

The key benefits that have come from the app allows individuals to:

  • Improve awareness, reflection and understanding of own mental health needs and ways of managing these needs.
  • Share own recovery stories (including the positive impact on Mental Health).Be able to use skills learned in CAMHS in real-world settings.
  • Engage in the clinical therapy used, including in-between sessions.
  • Connect with clinicians and young people in safe, online group settings.
  • Increase use of outcome monitoring and engagement in tracking moods/emotions/goals.
  • Access safe and clinically effective information.
  • Track outcomes and goals.
  • Improve self-reported self-esteem.

BESTIE is currently being piloted and has been shared across the healthcare sector ahead of going live later this year. BESTIE is available via a web-app and will be available on the App Store and Android.