The digital campaign, coordinated by Kiran Manku, Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, began with a contextual introduction to mental health, digital mental health innovations and the current digital mental health regulations set out across the countries involved, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, United Kingdom and Zimbabwe.
In this campaign the young people presented three ethical issues that are most important for them:
Professor Ilina Singh, project lead, Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, said:
'This campaign is a fantastic example of global engagement with mental health ethics, as well as vision and power of young people's voices in the future of digital mental health.'
The Ethics in Mental Health Digital Innovations for Young People in Africa (EMDIYA) project is funded by UK Research and Innovation, it sits within the Global Initiative for Neuropsychiatric Ethics. EMDIYA puts young people at the heart of research and engagement to inform responsible and relevant digital mental health interventions for young people in African countries.
Campaign content Highlights:
- Dr Sarah Wawa an EMDIYA ECR from Kenya, talks about local understanding of mental health and the potential of digital mental health innovation across Africa.
- A comic was produced by the group with YPAG members, Samuel and Tanya, discussing mental health and digital support.
- The team of ECRs and YPAG conducted local research and engaged with other young people and applied their learning in social media posts about: Informed consent, confidentiality and affordability.
- The team concluded the campaign with a reflection of their involvement in the project and their recommendations for ethical mental health innovations, which include: community engagement and research on digital mental health, co-create technology with young people, marginalised groups, and healthcare professionals, integrate digital mental health into national healthcare, and integrate discrete regulations and address emerging ethical issues.
Samuel, a YPAG member from Ghana, comments:
'Many young people in Ghana, particularly in rural areas, are still unfamiliar with digital mental health. However, because traditional mental health services are unavailable, many of these young people are turning to internet platforms for their mental health needs. My concern is whether or not these internet platforms are secure and ethical. So, when I was given the opportunity to participate in the digital campaign, I thought it was a great way to educate young people about digital mental health and privacy. In the process, I learnt a lot about the ethics of digital mental health. I especially enjoyed working with other young people from various countries.'
Joy, an ECR from Uganda, said:
'There are so many misconceptions and misinformation about mental health especially in Africa. EMDIYA increased my knowledge, skills, and changed my attitude towards digital mental health. I appreciate the need for us to utilize digital mental health since it's cheaper and has a large coverage. Mental Health is part and parcel to good health. Digital mental health is the new normal, let's embrace it and get involved to make it ethical.'
For more information and to see the full digital campaign, visit the EMDIYA project page.