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West of England Academic Health Science Network (from 2019)

The Future Challenges Programme: MiHub

MiHUB is an innovative technology-based project that aims to support young people’s wellbeing and resilience. It is part of the Future Challenges Programme.

The West of England Academic Health Science NetworkProReal, Wiltshire Council and the 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 involves co-production with the students, allowing young people to work closely with ProReal’s developers to refine and test the platform, focusing on their needs and preferences. The second stage allows the students to fully explore the self-help modules and provides the opportunity for detailed evaluation. Young people will also be able to access additional support from others as well as online wellbeing resources as appropriate.



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. This programme, works 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