New app designed to help teachers ID mental health problems in students

More than 250 teachers in England will be testing a new web-based application that’s designed to help identify common mental health problems in students.

The trial was announced by the University of London’s Royal Holloway in Egham, England, and will begin this month. The application was created by Royal Holloway clinical psychology lecturer Helen Pote, PhD, as a mental health training tool for teachers.

“MindAid is an information resource for teachers and supports early conversations about common mental health problems with young people. It draws together all the evidence based information they need in one easy to use app,” Pote said in a statement. “In today’s society, young people can feel under extreme pressure from so many factors including doing well at school, pressure from social peers and problems at home.”

According to the university, the app has four modules—Listen, Learn, Question and Refer— that can be used by school staff before, during or after a consultation with a student. The Listen and Learn modules help teachers on how to approach a conversation about common mental health issues with students, while the Question module helps them identify the student’s problems.

Staffs can then use the Learn and Refer modules to find more information and resources for students.

According to the app’s website, the tool should not be used to “provide diagnostic information to young people or their families” nor is it a risk assessment tool. The website also encouraged teachers to always refer to their “local safeguarding policies in assessing risk.”

“The app is designed to give teachers a tool to recognize those young people who need help and includes sign-posting information on how to direct students who may need a helping hand,” Pote said. “Early intervention and prevention of common mental health problems is the key to making sure young people are supported sooner rather than later, and many teachers have been extremely supportive of this app.”