Wellbeing app helps improve mental health in Peterborough schools

 

Trials of a wellbeing app in schools in Peterborough and the region are delivering phenomenal results and actively improving students’ mental health.

New statistics released by NHS Digital last month show that mental health difficulties have risen by over 25%, with 1 in 8 young people aged 5-19 now experiencing problems – the equivalent of 4 in every classroom!

With 87% of these children using social media compared to 78% of those without difficulties, and 20% of young people seeking help via the internet; more is needed to create safe online spaces. The Thrive App provides this safe space 24/7 and is available to students across the region at a vastly reduced cost.

A unique partnership between YMCA Trinity Group and Thrive, the app’s developers, is delivering the proven benefits of the app from just £2 per user per year.

Ryan Armes, Project Manager at YMCA Trinity Group said: “Teenage mental health issues are reaching crisis levels, and there simply isn’t enough support for young people. And yet if caught early enough, simple preventative strategies can be enough to stop mental health issues escalating.

“Thrive is a clinically proven tool developed by mental health specialists. In our trials, the app identified many young people displaying signs of moderate to severe depression. Using the exercises and techniques within the app, more than a quarter of these students reported signs of recovery, whilst others sought external help. The research indicates that the cost of treatment totalled just over £5 per person vs a minimum of £270 for 1-to-1 treatment as part of a basic counselling programme. This shows how effective it can be as a tool alongside other support.”

The top negative situations reported by users of the app were how they look, problems with friends, a recent event or feelings of self-consciousness. The app responds to specific issues with recommended activities, from breathing techniques to distraction activities, and clinical tools such as cognitive behavioural therapy.

The local authority is hoping many more thousands of students across the county will access the app.

Gary Perkins, Assistant Director for Education at Peterborough City Council said: “When YMCA came and presented the app to our commissioning board, we were extremely impressed and could instantly see its potential to support school staff and students to address their mental health needs.

“Not only is it a cost-effective support tool, but it is available 24/7 and can provide really helpful data about the well-being needs of users. That means that we can work towards creating an evidence-based programme of support to improve outcomes for young people across Peterborough and reduce the burden on schools in having to cope with demand themselves.

“We are very keen to explore ways of making this accessible to all of our schools and urge all schools to consider how it could benefit them.”

The Thrive App is now available to any educational setting across Peterborough and the wider east region, with a separate student (11+) and staff version for primary, secondary and college employees. For more information click here or contact YMCA on 01733 373187 or email sukaina.ladak@ymcatrinity.org.uk.

YMCA Trinity Group also provides a wide range of mental health services to schools including counselling and therapy for children aged five and over plus staff, as well as group work, staff training, and whole school well-being consultations. Click here for more information.