Preventive Digital Mental Health for Children in Primary Schools: Acceptability and Feasibility Study (Preprint)

Sian M Davies, Jenni Jardine, Kerry Gutridge, Zara Bernard, Stephen Park, Tom Dawson, Kathryn M Abel, Pauline Whelan

Research output: Other contributionpeer-review

Abstract

Background:

Recent work across Greater Manchester reports that schools, teachers, and parents/guardians are increasingly concerned about the mental health and well-being of their children, but lack the resources, skills and time to identify or support those susceptible to poor mental health. Similar concerns have been expressed by parents and teaching staff across the UK.

Objective:

To embed a low cost, scalable and innovative digital mental health intervention in schools in the Greater Manchester area, in order to identify and provide timely support for children most at risk of developing mental health or related problems.

Methods:

Two components of a digital intervention: 1) Lexplore, a reading assessment using eye-tracking technology to assess reading ability; and 2) Lincus, a digital support and monitoring wellbeing platform were implemented in a primary school in Greater Manchester.

Results:

Overall, teaching staff and children found both components of the digital intervention engaging, usable, feasible and acceptable. However, despite widespread enthusiasm and recognition of the potential added-value from Headteachers during the consultation phases of the project, we met significant implementation barriers.

Conclusions:

This study explored the acceptability and feasibility of a digital mental health intervention for schoolchildren. Further work is needed to evaluate the effectiveness of the digital intervention and to understand whether assessing reading atypicality using Lexplore can identify those who require additional help and can also be supported by Lincus. This study provides high-quality pilot data and highlights the potential benefits of implementing digital assessment and mental health support tools within a primary school setting.
Original languageUndefined
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 May 2021

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