Close to a million dollars in funding has been announced to help research new mobile software designed to help youth mental health.

Created in London, TELEPROM-Y is a mobile-based telemedicine program to improve access to specialized services when it comes to youth mental health.

“What we are doing with all our smart technologies is we are trying to build a smart mental health system,” says Dr. Cheryl Forchuck, assistant scientific director at the Lawson Research Institute.

The research team will use electronic collaborative health records, which allow patients and medical staff to work in a secure environment

“For the youth it means they have access through their phone to the care provider…they can get text messages… learning devices, they can have a virtual visit on a phone, so like FaceTime and Skype but unlike them it meets the safety standards of the health care system.”

Forchuk believes this software will make it easier for youth to access care in a timely manner.

“Most mental illness begins in this age group so early intervention is so important for the long-term course of the illness. So this is why we think it’s important to have more effective, efficient youth-focused approaches for this population.”

To properly study this new software the research team is looking for approximately 120 youth participants between the ages of 16-25 from London and the surrounding areas.

The study of the TELEPROM-Y software was funded by both the provincial government and matching contributions, making the total investment $889,739.

The hopes are it will promote more efficient mental health care for youth, which in turn could help the strain on the health care system.