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NHS trust to give GPs ‘augmented reality’ advice for patients at risk of suicide

Please note – this article originally said ‘hologram’ health advisers. This was a mistake. The card uses ‘augmented reality’ to bring up a video of a person providing support and advice on a patient’s phone. We are sorry for this error. We have also removed comments due to our error.

GP surgeries in Liverpool are to be provided with ‘crisis cards’ and posters that patients at risk of suicide can scan to access support advice from an actual person.

The cards were designed by technology company Media and Digital, which specialises in augmented reality, in collaboration with Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust and suicide prevention charity James’ Place.

They have so far been distributed by the NHS trust to local A&Es, as well as universities and football grounds, to target young men at risk of suicide.

The aim is to distribute cards to all local GPs in the Merseyside area in the near future.

The crisis card works by scanning its AR code with a mobile phone, which then launches an augmented reality human offering support and advice – including a video about how to access help at James’ Place.

According to the Office of National Statistics, between 2015 and 2017, St Helens, Merseyside had the highest suicide rate in the country, at 17.9 per 100,000 patients, compared to the national average of 9.6.

Last year, Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust set up an initiative with McLaren Construction to tackle high suicide rates amongst construction workers.

Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust’s deputy director of improvement and innovation, Steve Bradbury, said: ‘The therapeutic services offered by James’ Place give much needed care and support to vulnerable individuals in a safe and familiar environment. Our goal is to see suicide rates drop dramatically following the introduction of the crisis cards.’

Jane Boland, centre manager at James’ Place, said, ‘We chose Liverpool as the home for the first James’ Place, as the city is an area of high mental health need and Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust is one of the best and most innovative mental health providers in the country. We are proud that our partnership allows us to offer crisis cards to help men access the essential services they need.’

In November, Pulse revealed patients referred to mental health services often ended up back with their GP.

Pulse previously reported on mental health in the Merseyside area, when five CCGs cut spending on mental health services, two of which were in South Sefton and St Helens.

Please note this article was modified at 9:30 on 15th March to accurately reflect the suicide statistics.


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