With mental health concerns for young people increasing and normal full-time schooling for every child unlikely to return for some time, some schools have turned to a new phone app in an effort to support their students’ wellbeing.
The EduKit app, created by a social enterprise of the same name, enables students to send an alert to their school if they are feeling unhappy or unsafe at home so teachers can step in and help if needed.
The app also delivers targeted support to the student so if anxiety or online bullying is the problem, the student can be directed to a school-recommended counselling service or guides and video resources that will support them.
Emilie Darabasz, joint head of school and pastoral lead at Frances Bardsley Academy in Essex, who is using the app with their 1,476 students said: “The cumulative impact of this lockdown on young people can not be underestimated. They are not only dealing with their own issues but absorbing the emotions of their parents and carers too, many of whom are facing financial hardship and job losses.
“There is a sense of hopelessness in some children and with no end date in sight, they need support. The app means we can send help right into their hands at the point they need it. They can be directed to resources to help or they can message a teacher trained to deal with their concerns.”
The app has been developed by EduKit’s co-founder, Nathalie Richards, who was inspired by her own experience of being bullied at school: “I wanted no child to feel alone in dealing with a problem at home or school.
“The first lockdown made me very concerned for those who did not have someone they felt they could talk to. I had to make sure that would not be the case this time around and so we made sure the app was available for schools soon after this lockdown was announced. It’s important that teenagers know they can get help no matter what they are going through.”
The development of the EduKit app has been part funded by the Inclusive Recovery Fund from Comic Relief and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.