When YoungMinds launched HeadMeds last March their aim was to revolutionise the accessibility of mental health medication information to young people.
Four months later they seem to be well on their way to achieving this as since then the site has been visited nearly 29,000 times by more than 24,000 users, generating approximately 95,000 page views. (Ed’s note – these are brilliant headline stats – well done!)
Young people who’ve been prescribed mental health medication often have anxieties and questions about their meds but feel uncertain about who to speak to. Existing mental health medication websites are very clinical and factual. Pre-HeadMeds no information existed expressly written for young people.
HeadMeds answers the questions they may not want to ask their GP or family members about, like whether they can mix their medication with other drugs and alcohol, and how it might affect their weight or sex life. It’s the first medication guide to be written for young people.
“HeadMeds is great as there are things you don’t want to ask your pharmacist or support worker. It’s young people-friendly and the videos are great – it’s so good to know you aren’t alone and other people are in similar situations.’
The information covers the 21 medications most commonly prescribed to young people in the UK. It neither encourages nor discourages the use of mental health medication, it just states the facts and answers the questions that young people have voiced to us.
“HeadMeds is a wonderful collaboration between young people, patients and professionals offering accessible and down-to-earth information on mental health medications… HeadMeds may not be able to answer every single mental health query [young people] have, but will go a long way to help.”
Dr Ranj, NHS Doctor and TV presenter
Now we are a few months down the line from the HeadMeds launch we’ve had a chance to reflect on our journey. Here are some of the lessons we learnt during the project:
- Don’t underestimate the scale of a project (Headmeds was a much larger job than we initially expected)
- If it’s a sensitive topic like medication then there’s likely to be complex legal issues
- Testing early versions with young people and iterating based on their experience is crucial to an accessible end product
- Don’t underestimate the importance of setting aside a budget for post launch online promotion
“The HeadMeds website is fantastic. I read a story about a woman who takes the same medication as I do and even now that I am happy taking Citalopram it felt comforting to know that how I initially felt (and still sometimes do) was just the same as she did.”
Next Steps for HeadMeds
Inspired by the site’s initial success YoungMinds are seeking further funding so that during 2015 they can increase the number of medications covered by HeadMeds to the 30 most commonly prescribed.
Ed’s note: thanks to Tamsin Fidgeon, Web Editor at Young Minds for her help on this post.