Northern Ireland

New app launched to educate children about mental health and wellbeing

The OUR Generation app was launched as part of Mental Health Awareness Week
The OUR Generation app was launched as part of Mental Health Awareness Week The OUR Generation app was launched as part of Mental Health Awareness Week

A new app has been launched to educate children about mental health and wellbeing.

The 'OUR Generation' app is designed as a game, featuring five levels with activities relating to mental health and well-being, coping and problem-solving skills, perspective taking, empathy and intergroup contact and trust.

It was unveiled this week at Dromintee PS, near Newry, as part of Mental Health Awareness Week.

The initiative is part of an EU PEACE IV-funded project managed by the Special EU Programmes body and led by Action Mental Health.

It aims to build positive relations and emotional resilience in children and young people.

The app, developed by Ulster University researchers, is divided into two age categories - 11 years old and under and 12 years old and above.

Activities include simple drag-and-drop games as well as videos and links to other sources of help and support.

Players can select from four buddies who guide them through the app - Stripey, Roby, Hoofy or Bulby.

Users earn stars as they complete their journey through the levels and climb the leader board from expert, ambassador, champion to genius.

Dr Tara O'Neill, Ulster University, David Babington, Action Mental Health, Wendy McKeown, Principal of Dromintee, Dr Colette Ramsey, Ulster University, Carol Scullion, OUR Generation, with pupils Andrew McNally and Layla Briggs
Dr Tara O'Neill, Ulster University, David Babington, Action Mental Health, Wendy McKeown, Principal of Dromintee, Dr Colette Ramsey, Ulster University, Carol Scullion, OUR Generation, with pupils Andrew McNally and Layla Briggs Dr Tara O'Neill, Ulster University, David Babington, Action Mental Health, Wendy McKeown, Principal of Dromintee, Dr Colette Ramsey, Ulster University, Carol Scullion, OUR Generation, with pupils Andrew McNally and Layla Briggs

Professor Maurice Mulvenna, who was involved in the app’s design and development, said: “The OUR Generation app will provide a fun, free, safe, and engaging way for children, young people, and emerging adults to tackle their worries on mental health and well-being, so they can build resilience, gain confidence, and thrive".

He added that it "aims to demonstrate an improvement in the emotional resilience of children and young people".

"The anonymous usage data collected will help us answer the question of whether using the app can improve the knowledge, skills and behaviours of users and improve users’ resilience," he said.

David Babington, CEO of Action Mental Health, said they hope the app "will be used as a digital learning tool by children, young people and their key contacts to help develop awareness around resilience, mental health and wellbeing".

"For many years, Action Mental Health has been working to give children and young people the skills they need to look after their mental health through traditional programmes, so I am delighted to see this support develop digitally also.”