A GROUP of teenage boys are working together to learn how technology can support people with their mental health and wellbeing through the Covid pandemic

According to charity Young Minds, 67 per cent of young people felt the pandemic would have a long-term impact on their mental health.

This is something that The Clear Minds project is hoping to combat through a range of health apps available to smartphone users.

The project was instigated by Daresbury-based health tech specialist ORCHA – the Organisation for the Review of Care and Health Apps, and Luke Scott, 15, Ollie Rawlinson John, 16, James McCann, 17, and Marcus Ashall-Payne, 16, were all invited to take part.

This challenged them to select a number of health apps focusing on mental health support for young people and to promote them to as wide an audience as possible.

Having selected the five apps, the boys created a leaflet for distribution at their schools and a series of TikTok videos and Instagram posts.

They also produced a presentation featuring their top five recommended apps, which they delivered to 400 students.

Highlights of the project include a visit by Weaver Vale MP Mike Amesbury to the ORCHA headquarters and a radio interview with the Word on Health programme.

Commenting on his visit, Mr Amesbury said: “It was a delight to meet James and hear more about the project.

“Mental illness is something that affects all ages, and statistics show around one in four people will experience a mental health problem each year. The pandemic has exacerbated this even more.

“James and other young people in his team identified quality mental health apps which they then promoted to their peers through a social media campaign.

“They also worked alongside NHS clinicians in a truly innovative project that gave a voice to young people in the important and growing area of digital health.”

The teens commented that the pandemic had put extra pressure on themselves and on their peers.

Ollie added: “A lot of people will have broken up from school and will be thinking now about exam results, which will also be causing them stress.

“They need high quality health apps – ones which will help with mental health support and be safe for teens.”

The five apps recommended by the Clear Minds team are Wysa, MeeToo, Apart OF Me, Brain in Hand and RR: Eating Disorder Management.