Studies have shown that mental health difficulties among young people are increasing. 1 in 7 secondary school pupils suffer from a mental health disorder but most these young people are not identified. Schools are a good place to spot young people who are struggling and for making sure they get the help they need.
Researchers at the University of Cambridge have designed and developed a mobile app to help schools check their pupils’ mental health. They are experts from the fields of psychiatry, psychology, psychometrics, statistics, neuroscience, health and have been at the forefront of research in young people’s mental health.
Artemis-A is a quick and reliable mental health check-up for schools to use. The young person only needs to answer 6 to 8 questions on a mobile phone or computer. It can be completed at school or at home in their own time.
Only a few select members of staff will have access to the results since it is highly confidential protected information. If a student is flagged as high risk, a designated staff member will be able to contact the student and arrange support.
Detecting mental health difficulties usually involves completing lots of lengthy questionnaires, which then need to be scored and interpreted by a trained person. This is time consuming and costly for busy schools to manage.
Artemis-A uses Computerised Adaptive Testing (CAT) technology which selects a small, tailored set of questions from a much larger group of questions. The responses are scored automatically in real time and should take only 5 to 8 minutes to complete.
The development of Artemis-A has been a team effort. It was co-produced with school staff, mental health professionals, parents and most importantly, young people. They were involved at each stage of the design and development process to make sure the app is useful and user friendly. We have also worked closely with design experts, Effusion and The Psychometrics Centre.
“It’s really good because it’s quick and easy to use, like it doesn’t take long and you can re-do it which is really useful and you get the feedback straightaway”
“I think maybe it would flag some people that maybe you wouldn’t find things out until it was really quite serious.”
“I think it’s great that we can use smart technology to report and make it more fun, more approachable.”
Our research is ongoing and next we will evaluate how acceptable and practical secondary schools find using ARTEMIS-A. Following this, we hope to introduce ARTEMIS-A to secondary schools across the UK, and then to healthcare and juvenile justice systems.
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If your school wants to get involved in this work, please contact us.