Our library is a collection of best practice guides to help organisations and individuals design mental health products and services that work for people.
The Mental Health Patterns Library was created by designers, developers and mental health practitioners and researchers who saw a need to collect and share best practices for mental health digital services.
There has been an explosion of mental health and wellbeing apps launched across the globe with investment turning towards fast tracking innovation in the mental health space. Direct service providers are supporting their in-person programmes with technology tools and in some cases, learning how to deliver support completely remotely.
We recognised a need for a collation of implementable best practice to ensure mental health products and services work for people who use and deliver them. This is for anyone who is developing, designing and delivering mental health products and services.
This isn't just about digital apps and online interventions. We recognise many services are blended in some way, so it is our hope that these are useful across both online and offline worlds.
This isn't just a website of patterns. Behind this is a growing community who are interested in helping expand, evidence and develop the patterns and examples. You can join that community here and submit patterns, examples and evidence here.
The intention is that the library will help everyone improve the commissioning, designing, and delivering of mental health services in the digital age.
What's in the library
The Library has three sections:
Principles help to articulate a collaborative approach in designing services, acting as a guiding star of how you may design your mental health product or service. Our principles have been put together from; extensive mental health research and evidence, user research conducted by major health institutions and service providers and testing with youth charities.
Patterns are specific product and service approaches, proven to meet the needs of people: from keeping users safe to providing them with multiple ways to engage with you and your service. They are like best practice guides, broken down into implementable parts.
We call them patterns because they are repeated in other services and you can copy them, applying them to the context of your service or product. The patterns should serve as a checklist for your service or product.
Examples are short case studies that illustrate the patterns in action. Sometimes the best way to understand how an approach works in practise is to see it in a particular context and hear the story of how it’s been deployed.
How we built it
The Mental Health Pattern Library began as a design sprint hosted by Snook and the Public Policy Lab. Since then, it has turned into a community of more than 200 people around the world, all invested in providing the best digital mental health support that we can.
This 2nd generation of the library was built with funding from Nominet’s RESET programme and partnership with Barnardo’s, a historic children’s charity in the UK focusing on research and co-design across the youth charity sector with a focus on mental health.
Together, we conducted research to uncover patterns in digital health products and services. We reviewed academic research from trusted institutions, such as Barnardo’s, Cochrane Institute and NICE.
Therefore, the outcomes – the principles, patterns, and examples found in this library - can be applied universally to a variety of digital mental health services and interventions.
How to get involved
Want to help us build the library?
You can get involved by contributing to the library. You can submit:
• Evidence for the principles • Pattern suggestions • Examples to support existing or new patterns
You can do this here. We check this periodically to take onboard inputs and turn them into content on the library.
We have a live community on Slack who we engage and bring together for pattern development work. You can join us here.
We are looking for funders for the next phase to build more patterns in distinct areas and develop the community further. Drop us a line on email@example.com.
We could not have made this library alone. We’re grateful to everyone who workshopped the patterns with us, provided literature for review, offered their experience through interviews, and tested the digital platform. You have our hearty thanks.
Our first and second round of research included;
Barnardo’s, Samaritans, YoungMinds, Cochrane & Cochrane Common Mental Disorders, Action for Children, Children’s Society, Expert Self Care, Kooth, Kin + Carta, IBD Relief, Young Scot, Mental Health Foundation, We Are With You, The VA Center for Innovation at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Lab@OPM, FutureGov, Mind, Neon Tribe, Cove, Rooted Innovation, Mental Health Association in New York City, Crown Heights Mediation Centre, GHU Paris Psychiatrie et Neurosciences, Think Social Tech, We Move Europe, NHS Digital.
Snook is a design studio built to make the world more human. We’re trusted by companies, charities and governments to deliver world-class design solutions.
About Public Policy Lab
The Public Policy Lab is a nonprofit innovation lab with a mission to design policies and programmes that help at-risk Americans build better lives. We partner with government agencies, philanthropies, and NGOs – and the communities they serve – to develop more satisfying and effective services through ethnographic research, human-centred design, rapid prototyping, and formative evaluation.
About Barnardo's Innovation Lab
The Innovation Lab at Barnardo’s was set up to uncover, test and develop innovative ideas and practices so we can meet the challenges of modern society and create better outcomes for more children and young people.