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[Event Report] Mental Health Policy Project Examines Best Direction for Promoting Effective Technology Use from the Perspectives of Those Most Affected in First Roundtable on “Policy Issues and Next Steps for Better Mental Health Through Mental Healthtech” (September 1, 2022)

[Event Report] Mental Health Policy Project Examines Best Direction for Promoting Effective Technology Use from the Perspectives of Those Most Affected in First Roundtable on “Policy Issues and Next Steps for Better Mental Health Through Mental Healthtech” (September 1, 2022)

On September 1, 2022, the Health and Global Policy Institute (HGPI) Mental Health Policy Project hosted the first roundtable discussion for an initiative titled “Policy Issues and Next Steps for Better Mental Health Through Mental Healthtech.” The meeting was held online and was not open to the public.

The HGPI Mental Health Policy Project was launched in FY2019 with the belief that mental health policy encompasses the stages of mental illnesses and disorders that require continuous support from professionals in medical, health, and welfare services and mental health challenges that can make life feel like a minor yet constant struggle. Based on this thinking, we believe uniting multi-stakeholders centered around those most affected to build a system that provides seamless support along the life course will be crucial in future mental health policy. With the ultimate goal of improving quality of life (QOL) through better mental health for every member of society, we have continuously issued recommendations and have taken action for policy reform in this area.

To promote a comprehensive life course approach to mental health that includes perspectives on health promotion as well as to encourage people to act on mental health issues before their condition progresses to the point they require treatment, establishing an environment in which each individual can manage their own mental health will be essential. To help create such an environment, expectations are high for the effective use of digital technology in the field of mental health.

A broad variety of digital tools have the potential to contribute in this field. They not only include self-care tools and tools designed to provide therapeutic effects called “programmed medical devices,” but also include tools used for data collection and analysis. It is difficult to say that a major direction for policy in this area has been set. Above all, we must hold multi-faceted discussions on the benefits and disadvantages of utilizing digital technology from the perspectives of the patients and affected parties who will be using it. Those discussions must explore best methods of assessing the quality of digital technology, examine accessibility, and consider information security and other ethical aspects of utilizing digital technology.

Given these circumstances, this roundtable discussion focused on the topic of mental healthtech for self-care and health promotion. We joined people affected by mental health issues; representatives of academia and industry, who are responsible for developing technology and building evidence; Government representatives; and other multi-stakeholders to examine current issues and necessary measures from the following perspectives:

  • How can people choose the mental healthtech that they need?
  • What should people do when they require treatment?
  • What evidence will be required of mental healthtech?
  • Who will bear the cost of prevention and health promotion?

A summary of the roundtable discussion will be published on this page on a later date.

 

Roundtable discussion participants (titles omitted; in Japanese syllabary order)

  • Yasushi Ochiai (Development Planning Officer, Frontier Business Office, Sumitomo Pharma Co., Ltd.)
  • Kensuke Kaneko (Representative Director and Managing Executive Officer, KANEKOSHOBO)
  • Hironori Kuga (Director, National Center for Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Research, National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry)
  • Keigo Kobayashi (Person Living With a Mental Disorder)
  • Tomoya Koyama (Deputy Director, Healthcare Industries Division, Commerce and Service Industry Policy Group, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI))
  • Daiki Takegawa (Chief Operations Officer and Representative Director, emol Co. Ltd.)
  • Yoshitake Takebayashi (Associate Professor, Department of Health Risk Communication, School of Medicine, Fukushima Medical University)
  • Shingo Hayashi (Person Living With a Mental Disorder; Representative Director, Beta Trip Co. Ltd.)
  • Takashi Mihara (Head Researcher, NLI Research Institute)
  • Masako Mizumachi (Attorney at Law, Miyauchi & Mizumachi IT Law Firm)
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