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A Quarter of young people in need unable to access mental health support during Covid-19

someone sitting down with a shadow

#NHS-approved app hailed solutions by education experts 

Research by youth mental health charity, Young Minds, has found that a quarter (25%) of children in need of mental health support can’t access it during the crisis, while 67% of parents questioned said they were concerned about the long term impact of Coronavirus on their child’s mental health.  

An NHS approved app, MyCognition ED, created by one of the UK’s most experienced, neuroscience-medical developers, has been hailed as a solution to the problem and is being used with great success in schools across England. 

MyCognition ED is the only cognitive training platform that assesses and strengthens a child’s mental resilience, is NHS approved, clinically validated, regulated by MHRA as a CE marked Class 1A medical device and has an ORCHA rating of 85%. MyCognition has received prestigious awards from UCL for its research in education through the EU EDUCATE programme and was globally acknowledged by the Gates Foundation as being a world leader in the use of cognition in education.

When used for just 15 minutes per day, MyCognition ED optimises a child’s cognitive health, mental wellbeing and resilience to stress, improving behaviour and academic potential. Through its game ‘Aquasnap’ it creates a personalised training programme for children that has remarkable results, strengthening mental resilience, improving their health, helping their ability to self-regulate, adapt their behaviour and, importantly, engage more productively in their school work.  

Neuroscientist and Founder of MyCognition, Keiron Sparrowhawk says:

“The worries of Covid-19 will be enough to push some children beyond their stress threshold, which, if prolonged, will result in poorer behaviour, poor academic potential, poor mental health and social isolation. This will be particularly evident on children who were already predisposed to poor health, and those children who were most vulnerable in society so it’s very important that parents and teacher act now to prevent this. 

“So many children are struggling to access the mental health support they need right now and crucially, MyCognition ED can be used by those on lockdown who are socially isolating, wherever they are. ED allows a child’s cognition and mental health to be monitored and data collected confidentially by their health practitioner and wellbeing coach – most of whom are now working digitally rather than face-to-face. Reports can be made available to their parents and teachers can be fully involved as well. As the first line of intervention in stepped care, it is proving critical in this time where children, and their parents, are feeling anxious, worried and insecure about the future. It enables mental health professionals to continue their work, leverage their healing skills and help more people.”

Overall, 15,000 children aged between the age of seven and 18 have used the app to help improve their cognitive function. They were previously using it during school hours but many are now using it free of charge, at home. 

Siân Deane is a Project Manager and School Improvement Adviser for the Severn Teaching School Alliance. She runs a mental health programme across the schools in the Telford and Wrekin area and first started using the app when she was a head teacher in 2018. She saw MyCognition as the perfect non-clinical intervention to aid cognitive fitness in students across the region. 

Siân says: “The impact, particularly on those children with a poor cognitive function, has been fantastic. Children love playing the AquaSnap game as it’s such good fun. They’re paying attention but they’re also quite relaxed. They have that sense of success and something to look forward to. 

“There is a plethora of apps that reportedly help our mental health but what young people really need is something that’s going to address them personally, where the AI can create their very own bespoke training programme. It’s crucial for teachers to really consider a child’s cognitive health as part of their daily offering in schools. This leads to improved resilience, the ability to manage stress in a healthy way and happier children. While a certain level of stress is good for all of us, it’s important that children are able to get a sense of feeling good about themselves throughout school that will help them go on to be successful.”

There are three core MyCognition apps:

  1. MyCognition ED – a cognitive fitness app for schools, designed to improve a student’s mental health and capacity to learn through a personalised cognitive fitness assessment and training game. MyCognition ED provides students with a personal report of their cognitive strengths and areas for improvement. Adopted in over 50 schools, MyCognition ED has helped thousands of students train their cognitive fitness. With 50% of mental illness emerging by 14 years of age, and 75% by the age of 25, there is a significant need to prevent poor mental health while our children are being educated. 
  2. MyCognition PRO – a cognitive fitness programme for employers, mental wellbeing coaches and healthcare professionals to increase the cognitive abilities of people of any age, with a proven and direct impact on mental resilience, overall health and wellbeing, and performance. MyCognition PRO provides the evaluation, insight and training required to perform at your best, both mentally and physically. In just 15 minutes per day, MyCognition PRO helps to reduce stress, sharpen focus and improve decision-making ability.  
  3. MyCognition HOME – described as “a personal trainer for your brain”, is a self-administered app that helps improve mental resilience, self-management, learning outcomes and performance in everyday life, providing support to you and a loved one; either a child, a partner or an elderly relative. In just 15 minutes a day, MyCognition HOME provides the evaluation, insight and training required to help you perform at your best, both mentally and physically. £8.99 monthly, £79.99 annually. 

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