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‘Digital Healthy Schools’ in London

The NHS across North West London has launched an exciting new digital health programme for secondary schools, students and their parents.

The NHS across North West London has launched an exciting new digital health programme for secondary schools, students and their parents.

The Digital Healthy Schools Programme is free and provides schools with the necessary information, support and guidance to help students explore and
understand digital health and see the real difference it can make to not only their
own health and wellbeing, but also to their loved ones.

This innovative new programme harnesses the device students use the most – their
smart phones:

  • over 90% of under 16’s in the UK own a mobile
  • digital health solutions are increasingly recognised as being a major aid to managing and improving health.
  • of every 100 children, 10 will have a clinically diagnosable mental health problem, yet only three of those ten will receive treatment
  • the Digital Healthy Schools programme will support teachers to educate pupils about keeping healthy, and managing their mental health helping to keep more young people well and empower them to get the right support and help when needed.

The programme includes an engaging lesson package that demonstrates the risks of signing up to unregulated health apps and how to safely find and use apps to improve physical and emotional health and wellbeing.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) reports that stigma, or fear of being stigmatised, can mean that young people do not seek help for mental health problems. Charity Young Minds, say that young people often look for support and advice online for their mental health – young men and boys in particular – but this support is not always available. Teaching young people about digital health means that help will be more accessible to them.

Provided by ORCHA, part of the NHS England’s National Innovation AcceleratorProgramme, Digital Healthy Schools was trialled by a number of secondary schools in 2018. High-levels of engagement were seen amongst students during lessons and later, continuing to use apps to improve their mental and physical health.

Kwesi Afful, Digital Citizen & Innovation Lead, said: “Research shows that on
average it takes between ten years for a child with a long term condition
experiencing a symptom and actually asking for help. Apps are a safe way to learn
more about your own health and care. By providing children with the knowledge of
safe and secure apps to use, like the ones on the NHS app library, children can be
more confident in understanding their own health and wellbeing.”

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