Securing MentaI WeIIbeing OnIine

The RAMP Initiative

A new guide to RAMP being Iaunched today.

4 15ŴyeorŴo/d qir/ co//ed Lucy is worried obout her weiqhtŦ 5he tries to diet but finds herse/f
binqeinq soon ofterwordsŦ 4shomedţ ond even more concerned obout how this wi// offect her siteţ
she seorches for he/p on the lnternet on/y to end up on o website octive/y promotinq bu/imioŦŦŦ

5imonţ o 5lŴyeorŴo/d foced with redundoncyţ wonders how he wi// monoqe without his work ond
incomeŦ 1oo oshomed to to/k to his wife or his 6Pţ he enters o forum for those sufferinq from
depressionŦ Yet insteod of support he finds oqqressive interoctions ond odvice on how to commit

Ìnternet growth has risen in the past decade from 361 million users to more than two billion.
Over the same period, the number of subscribers to mobile phones has increased from 907
million to five million. As a result, more and more people now search online for information,
support and advice, especially when it relates to mental health issues. But the question
remains - how safely?

O People online who have medical and emotional problems are trusting the World Wide
Web more and questioning it less.
O Surveys in 2010 showed that 26% of adults using online search engines simply
accepted as gospel whatever they were told. This is a 6% increase on the previous
O For vulnerable patients, those on lower incomes, and those new to the Ìnternet, this
acceptance of information regardless of accuracy rises to more than a third of

Few could doubt today that your online experiences will have a substantial influence over
your health and wellbeing. This will often be for the better - although Lucy and Simon
(above) would clearly disagree. Obviously we need to balance this freedom to research the
digital world with safeguards to procure a genuinely beneficial experience. Yet to date, it's
been difficult to make best use of the knowledge and experience of those working in the
online mental health world.

The Risk Awareness and Management Programme (RAMP) is now being launched as a
definitive framework and programme designed to help organisations communicate more
responsibly and safely online with all their digital visitors - see The inaugural version of RAMP - '"Delivering Mental
Wellbeing Online¨ is a guide to best practice in the management of interactive services
mainly for organisations. The guide is being launched on November 24 at the Ìnstitution of
Engineering and Technology, 2 Savoy Place, London WC2R OBL.

The Ìnternet connects people to information, to each other and to tools and resources in
ways that fundamentally alter the traditional relationship with medical care. Today,
professional guidance is often preceded by patient research, the sharing of knowledge with
fellow sufferers and networking. As a result of this sharing and researching, mental health
support is becoming more social and, thankfully, less stigmatised. Technological innovation
in the health space seeks to enhance people's lives and reduce suffering and distress. Ìt
also serves to remove the barriers to 24/7 support.

RAMP is the result of a unique collaborative, self-regulatory process that included both
statutory and non-statutory mental wellbeing providers in the UK, Ìreland, USA and Australia.

Both Facebook and Vodafone have sponsored the production of the RAMP Guide - see The RAMP guide is supported by the UK Council for Child
Ìnternet Safety, The New Savoy Partnership, Young Minds and the Australian Cooperative
Research Centre for Young People, Technology and Wellbeing

Contributors include: Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, NSPCC, The British
Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), Coalition of Children's Charities for
Ìnternet Safety and Big White Wall. Organisations in Ìreland include: ReachOut, BodyWhys,, and SpunOut.

Dr Rachel O'Connell, Ìndependent Consultant,
Dr Richard Graham, Consultant Psychiatrist, Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust.
Jane Chapman, Governance and Risk Adviser,Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation

Principal author Dr Rachel O'Connell says:

'This is an innovative, collaborative initiative that focuses on helping organisations harness
technology as an enabler of better and safer access to support services online. The Risk
Awareness and Management Programme takes the guesswork out of knowing what steps
organisations need to take to ensure people have a safe experience using the online mental
health service.

Facebook and Vodafone's involvement signals a recognition of Ìnternet
users' appetite to source reliable support services online.'

Dr Richard Graham says: 'Having tried for some years to help those who have suffered from
the sometimes alarming risks that can occur online, Ì am thrilled that with industry and other
organisations, we have produced a guide that can truly minimise these risks. Negotiating the
digital world is challenging for us all; RAMP makes it easier, such that the risks do not spoil
the wonderful opportunities.'

Jeremy Clarke, Chair of the New Savoy Partnership:

'Ì am delighted that this project has come to fruition with the support of the New Savoy
Partnership and the New Technologies Group. Rachel and her colleagues are to be
congratulated on what is a useful contribution towards not only widening access but also
agreeing quality standards. This is important, as we know that therapists, even good
therapists using proven therapies, can still do harm, often inadvertently. So putting in place a
means by which we can assess risks and reduce harm will benefit our overall effectiveness,
and honour our ethical commitment to our clients.'

Paul Davies, Head of Policy at the ÌET:

'The Ìnstitution of Engineering and Technology (ÌET) welcomes this initiative and is keen to
support the further development of technology that enables people to use remote access
and mobile devices to improve their health. The relationship between domestic technology
and health is one of increasing interest to the ÌET and our research.'

Phillip Hodson of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) said::
'BACP has always supported innovative forms of psychological therapy. We produced our
first guide to Online Therapy in the last Century. But our overriding concern remains the
same: how do your know THÌS therapist is working in the best interests of the client under all
circumstances? Are they trained, accountable - and insured! Ìf they are online, how do you
know they are even real and not a digital programme? The RAMP guide is the best
safeguard we know for users of Ìnternet therapy'.

otes to Editors. For more information:

Dr Rachel O'Connell, Principal author of the RAMP Guide and Government Advisor on
Ìnternet Safety. Rachel can be contacted,

Dr. Richard Graham, Clinical Director of the Adolescent Directorate of the Tavistock and
Portman NHS Foundation Trust. He is a Consultant Psychiatrist, and established the UK's
first specialist service for Technology Addiction in Young People, at Capio Nightingale
Hospital, and has written widely about online risks.

Facebook. Founded in February 2004, Facebook's mission is to give people the power to
share and make the world more open and connected. Anyone can sign up for Facebook and
interact with the people they know in a trusted environment. Facebook is a privately held
company and is headquartered in

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