Media Release: Mental ill health recovery in Scotland to benefit from innovative digital health pilot

Easter Ross - remote working pic1

AN innovative scheme to improve support for people with mental ill health in remote and rural areas is to be launched by leading mental health charity, Birchwood Highland.

Starting in Easter Ross, Lochaber and remote areas around Inverness, the system is being developed in partnership with Moray-based digital health company, Openbrolly.

Birchwood Highland Connect will enable additional choice of online support to be offered.

It is designed to overcome the challenges and barriers presented by the geography and topography of the Highlands and to more readily reach out to people regardless of distance. People Birchwood Highland support will be able to discuss goals, plans and concerns through a video link, share correspondence they require assistance with and access their personal support plan documents.

Linda Birnie, community services manager at Birchwood Highland, said: “We see the new service as an innovative way to improve support using new technology.

“Enabling choice and inclusion, plus being responsive to offering support where and when it is needed, which are key outcomes for us.

“This new system offers an immediate personal connection over distance rather than someone having to wait for a visit while a worker travels to their home, so individuals may get more value from the support time. The system can be blended with traditional visits to cover a full range of preferred support requirements.”

The system will make use of Openbrolly’s ROC health and social care software platform, which has been developed for a range of health and social care organisations and has been used successfully to provide support to people living with long-term conditions.

Birchwood Highland Connect is utilising this technology to support people with their mental health recovery journey.

David Sim, director at Openbrolly, said: “There is a push, particularly in Scotland, to overcome barriers caused by distance and limited resources and put people in control of the care they receive.

“Technology is part of the solution and enables a level of care that would be impossible to deliver using traditional methods.”

The new project will complement traditional methods of service delivery which will remain available to service users.


Note to editors:

Birchwood Highland was established 30 years ago as a charity working with people with mental ill health, supporting them in their journey to recovery.

Throughout this time they have maintained a position at the cutting edge of mental health recovery, leading on excellence and advancing innovation in the sector.  (

Openbrolly was established 17 years ago, specialising in the use of the internet for communication. Its digital health projects include work with the NHS, Macmillan, Highland Hospice and Corporate Health. The company is based in Elgin, Moray. (

Images to accompany this release are available here:

Easter Ross service users:

Lochaber service users:

Permission has been obtained from the service users in the images.

For further information, contact:

David Sim, CTO /director, Openbrolly: / Tel: 07527 366653

Linda Birnie, community services manager, Birchwood Highland: / Tel: 01463 236 507

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Open brolly contact details…

Contact: David Sim
Phone: 07527366653