ACE Centre - Our Research
The UK economic burden of mental illness is estimated at around £22.5 billion a year (1) and rates of suicide and self-harm are increasing (2). Alongside the growing evidence that many mental disorders have their origins in adolescence, there is increasing pressure for schools to address the emotional well-being of their students, as well as the stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness.
SafeSpot is an innovative app and support programme for young peoples’ mental health developed by two Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists and has 3 main domains:
1) An educational curriculum delivered across secondary school years 1-4 (pupils aged 11 – 16 years), focusing on mental health awareness, reducing the stigma of mental health and increasing access to resilience building skills.
2) The SafeSpotter Programme – a peer advocate programme in which senior students attend mental health training and are then involved in assisting younger peers with mental health concerns within the school, tackling stigma within the school environment, and working, with guidance, in supporting the curriculum.
3) The SafeSpot App and Website –an innovative development allowing young people to access evidence based coping skills and localised resources through a local directory and map. In addition, children and parents can access specialist helplines to address any concerns they have regarding a range of issues.
There are approximately 290,000 children in secondary education in Scotland. It is our long-term aim for every secondary school child in Scotland to have access to their own personalised 'SafeSpot' app on their mobile phone or tablet device on entering secondary education, if it is proved effective. For children without access to a mobile phone or tablet, we will be providing schools and public libraries with a web based SafeSpot with all the same resources for young people to access, including relaxation audio and helplines.
Should evaluation show positive results then, for sustainability and capacity reasons, these two experienced child and adolescent psychiatrist would train other trainers and use their existing network (e.g. child and adolescent mental health colleagues, the NHS and the Royal College of Psychiatrists) to map SafeSpot services for the App throughout Scotland and the UK.