A partnership for mental health

Illustration depicts a woman with her head in her hands and another woman looking on in concernAbilityNet is working in partnership with the NHS and others to tackle digital exclusion and support people's mental health needs. 

We’re helping NHS Camden and Islington Foundation Trust (NHS Candi), which has worked to move its specialist Traumatic Stress Clinic online during Covid-19. 

The service identified 20 users who were digitally excluded and unable to engage with remote therapy. 

Julia Gillard, Clinical Psychologist at Camden & Islington (C&I), said, "Digital exclusion is a huge problem, with 22% of the UK population lacking the digital skills needed for everyday life." 

She added, "Many groups face a higher risk of digital exclusion in the UK, such as people with a disability or chronic illness, people in lower-income groups or who are unemployed, migrants and refugees or people with English as a second language.”

Our interview reveals why it’s more important than ever to close the digital divide

Stronger together: connecting service users

Image shows Jangala receiving its Tech4Good Award at the 2019 ceremonyGetting them connected has involved a four-way partnership between NHS Candi, supermarket giant ASDA, AbilityNet and former Tech4Good winner Jangala

Healthcare charity Helpforce secured 20 tablets donated by ASDA as part of the #TabletsWithLove campaign, which NHS Candi has sent to its users.

However, it was crucial to ensure that the users also had an affordable internet connection and the skills to use both. 

Jangala stepped in to provide the connection through its innovative Get Box. Developed during Covid-19, Get Box is a paperback-sized internet connectivity device connects to mains power and provides instant Wi-Fi and access to 4G data for a low monthly fee. 

Five of NHS Candi’s 20 service users have received a GetBox to enable them to get online.

Jangala is supporting 30 vulnerable people in emergency accommodation in Brighton with Get Box. 

Support with technology from AbilityNet volunteers

AbilityNet is delighted to join the partnership and to provide specialist support from our network of 300+ volunteers offering FREE support with technology. 

We identified a core group of volunteers supporting the service users with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in using their new tablets and router. 

Free Services Manager, Sarah Brain from AbilityNet said: “We’ve loved being part of this pilot scheme, with each organisation playing to their strengths, we’ve enabled this group of trauma patients to get online to continue their treatment during the pandemic. Technology can be so daunting to some, but by working together, we can support the most vulnerable to be part of the digital world.”

For FREE support with technology call our helpline 0300 180 0028


Please note: calls to our helpline number cost no more than a national rate call to an 01 or 02 number and count towards any inclusive minutes in the same way as 01 and 02 calls, and AbilityNet does not receive any money from these calls


Gillard said: “Covid-19 has accelerated the digitisation of public health services, education and employment, it has also heightened the negative impact of digital exclusion on service users accessing mental health services in the Traumatic Stress Clinic.

She added: "To help solve this issue, we’re working to support digital inclusion for our service users and are pleased to have secured support from four key partners. We’re hugely grateful for this support from these organisations during this difficult time.”

How AbilityNet can help

For support from AbilityNet call our helpline 0300 180 0028

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