Developers of digital technology designed to improve mental health can now vie for a slice of £400,000 on offer from NHS England to help accelerate uptake of their products.

The NHS England funded Digital Development Lab - run by mHabitat in partnership with MindTech and Social Spider - will give six to eight innovators the chance to have their technology endorsed and nationally promoted within the health service.

Those successful will be given access to funds to accelerate adoption of their digital technology, as well as help with generating evidence of impact and access to mentoring on range of topics including regulation and implementation.

Mental ill health represents a huge strain on the economy, NHS and society, at a cost of around £105 billion a year, but services are woefully under par.

Earlier this year, NHS England said it would invest an extra £1 billion a year into improving mental health services, in line with a wider-reaching package of recommendations made by the Mental Health Taskforce to give the area equal footing with physical health.

The Mental Health Five Year Forward View forecast a pivotal role for digital technology in driving major changes to mental health services over the next five years.

"Using this fund we can rapidly develop and scale currently available, evidenced based tools. The Lab's successes will mean more people can manage and care for their mental health using a set of high quality, evidence-based and safe digital tools with NHS endorsement," said Juliet Bauer, director of Digital Experience at NHS England.

"We're particularly interested in tools that support the mental health of young people and families. This might include more self-care at home, managing conditions before they escalate and building mental resilience. It also means NHS commissioners will be able to update or newly commission digital products for their population with confidence."