Overview: Mental health treatment options are limited during the pandemic but some resources are available. Video and telephone allow some treatment to continue, but this remains labour intensive and unscalable. Telepsychiatry is not yet sufficiently accepted to be able to fill the gap significantly, but it can, and should. The SDQplus (https://sdqscore.org/SDQblockchain.html) makes it easy for clinicians, carers, schools and mental health organisations to assess people rapidly (under 15 minutes for a complete assessment and interpretation) and on large scale (national → global) for mental health problems. Assessments are offered and completed online, avoiding face-to-face contact entirely. Because the SDQ is entered online by respondents, time and effort of professionals (and error) is saved which otherwise must be spent interviewing and recording data in the presence of respondents or transcribing paper based responses. Reports and analyses of data are available immediately upon completion of the SDQ; this allows mental health professionals to quickly identify, monitor and prioritise interventions. The SDQ can provide reassurance to those who do not need immediate intervention; follow-up assessments can be given every few months to provide monitoring and “watchful waiting” - this in itself has a therapeutic aspect. Although best known and validated as a measure for young people, it can be used effectively up to the age of 65. Assessment and monitoring by the SDQ, is well proven and permits at least something to be done at this time and on a useful scale.
Speaker: Mike Smith worked in Dublin and Geneva from 1976 to 1980 developing petroleum information systems for Petroconsultants SA. During that time, he was awarded a DPhil for developing microprocessor-based oceanographic instruments at University College Galway. He was appointed lecturer in computer science at Reading University in 1980 and became Head of R&D for ISTEL, the computing company of Rover Group, in 1984. Mike then held directorial positions in the petroleum industry and management consultancy until 1990 when he was appointed Professor of Health Informatics at Keele University in the departments of Computer Science and of Medicine; he concurrently held the position of Director of Information at North Staffordshire Health Authority. In 1996 he moved to London and held professorial posts at City University, Barts, LSE, and UCL, as well as consultancy positions at Z/Yen and PwC. In 2000, he founded Medix UK Group plc, creating the largest online community of registered medical professionals, over 35,000 in the UK alone. His next venture was founding fm2x in 2007 and retiring from active academic life in 2008; fm2x provides much of Z/Yen's survey and distributed ledger technologies. Since 2016, he has been the senior director of Youthinmind Limited's online mental health and psychiatric measures, the SDQ and DAWBA.