Ten years ago Professor Grigori Joffe and his colleagues in the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa began planning a new online mental health service. Back then, patients were sometimes bounced somewhat haphazardly among traditional mental health services, and online information on mental health was sporadic and disorganized. Furthermore, the growing demand for psychotherapy could not be met due to a shortage of therapists and money.
"We needed one door through which both patients and professionals could access the system easily. We started the project by bringing together mental health and substance abuse service professionals from our own hospital district – from the public and private as well as the third sector. Patient contribution was also important. This created a basis for the service path and the first version of Mental Hub. Later on, Mental Hub was multiplied to other hospital districts in collaboration with local professionals. Inclusion, discussion and co-creation were in a central role in the project," says Professor Joffe.
While Mental Hub's model is universal, some of its content is created regionally. In the heart of the service is an automatic symptom navigator, which directs users to appropriate local services. This feature, along with the comprehensive nature of the service, makes Mental Hub unique. Mental Hub also offers a service finder, extensive information on mental health, as well as self-help guides and programs. In the future, the service will set up moderated peer groups, which users can access with a personal code. Mental Hub's content is scientifically verified and user-friendly.
For mental healthcare professionals, Mental Hub offers education, consultation and development opportunities as well as various tools for measuring mental health.