The content and feel of the service is designed to engage young people while still reassuring parents and clinicians.

What we did

  • Brand strategy
  • Service naming
  • Visual identity
  • Website design and build
  • Printed advice publications

Every year, 7,500 young people in England develop psychosis, a mental illness that can include symptoms such as paranoia and hearing voices. People with psychosis die up to 25 years earlier than the general population; a third from suicide.

Early intervention in the first three years of psychosis can improve long-term outcomes. However, 25% of young people who are seen by Early Intervention in Psychosis services disengage in the first year of treatment.

Likemind is a collaboration with Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, through funding from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The aim of the service is to create a series of interventions that help those being treated for psychosis. The hypothesis of the clinical trial is that by doing so, more will stay on treatment pathways tha lead to positive outcomes.

An initial pilot of the study found that the intervention reduced service drop out. Working with the team at the University of Sussex, we have developed and rolled out the next stage of the pilot to 20 services across the UK.

Listening to the people that matter

We started by speaking to a wide range of service users about the type of challenges they faced:

“There were times when I got worse and I needed information to help me, to feel like I wasn’t alone. So, from here I went on the internet and read a few stories.” —Likemind service user

Key to the project was engaging with the wider families and clinicians who establish the young person’s support network:

“There’s so much rubbish out there on the internet. It’s nice to know you’re directing someone to a really useful resource that is evidence-based and is meaningful for those people that have helped set it all up.” —Likemind clinician

We heard that parents often feel just as lost as their children:

“We didn’t know anything about psychosis at all. This was absolutely terrifying, scary. But, we decided to just start looking it up online.” —Parent of Likemind service user

Our challenge was then to create a brand that engaged young people, while still reassuring parents and clinicians the information deserved to be trusted. To start with, we focused on what the service was and how it helped people, developing an agreed positioning statement:

Part of this positioning process also included renaming the service. The intervention started out as The EYE Project (Engaging Young people Early in mental health and wellbeing for psychosis). As the service moved from being tailored more to service users than health professionals, we carried out extensive research to explore naming options that were more concise, memorable and sympathetic to the project; ultimately arriving at ‘Likemind’.

By working closely with patients, clinicians, academics and NHS digital staff, William Joseph ascertained what was important and what was valued, liked and disliked. The final product is being well received by clinicians and patients around the country.

Prof. Kathryn Greenwood, Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Visual look and feel

We developed a look and feel for Likemind that made heavy use of bright, bold colours; softer, hand-drawn shapes; and illustrated portraits.

The colour palette was carefully crafted to produce a balance of bright, energetic hues that also felt warm and approachable; not too acidic to be off-putting to users who may be in a distressed state. Care was given to also make sure there was enough contrast within the palette to allow combinations that would pass WCAG accessibility recommendations.

An illustrative route was taken after learning that some service users found photography of other people to be intimidating at their points of crisis. A series of portraits was created with neutral, open expressions, and which crucially were never looking directly at the ‘camera’.

Using illustration also gave us the flexibility to show a variety of situations, recolouring or rearranging as necessary, without needing to invest heavily in photography.

To complement these core components of the new visual identity, we also introduced a handwritten font and rounded, irregular graphic shapes. Once all of these elements had been tested with key audiences, we could see it was creating the environment they needed for the interventions to be successful. From here, we rolled out a suite of printed materials and the full digital experience.

The new website, at

Launching Likemind

The new website continues the concept of a mental health ‘companion’, with prominent and concise navigation, and includes a number of features to ensure that it helps keep young people on their treatment pathways:

  • A fully moderated forum where young people can ask each other questions about their experiences
  • A series of real stories written by young people who have experienced psychosis
  • Myth-busting content that tackles issues such as drugs, alcohol and treatment options
  • On-page translation, for people who don’t speak English as a first language
  • Resources for families and clinicians, to better understand and explain the situation people are facing

We also produced a series of printed ‘myth-busting’ advice booklets, which are to be made available from NHS services.

William Joseph have produced a great piece of research and creative thinking for Likemind. The project was delivered on time and to budget, despite additions being made to the requirements as we progressed, and care was taken to ensure it met both the needs of the client group and the NHS.

Prof. Kathryn Greenwood, Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust