Stirling’s youth praised for pioneering mental health work

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Credit: Stirling Council

Young people in Stirling have become pioneers at tackling the mental health crisis after designing tech that will encourage young people to talk about their mental health.

 They unveiled their prototype – a Chatbot called ‘Alli-Chat’ that will be accessible across social media platforms – to delegates at CivTech’s Demo Day at the International Conference Centre in Edinburgh.

Designed to help start the conversation about mental health among the younger age-group, Alli-Chat will also offer personalised advice on where to access additional services and ongoing support.

The digital prototype that aims to tackle the stigma around adolescent mental health. This has been the first citizen sourced challenge of its kind.

The programme involved mental health champions in Stirling’s secondary schools and members of the Stirling youth forum, who have worked for months on the project which was unveiled on Wednesday in Edinburgh.

Working closely alongside Edinburgh-based tech company Voxsio to address this serious issue using conversational Artificial Intelligence technology.

With one in three young people suffering from mental health, tackling the stigma and the inability to share and speak freely about mental illness is so important. One of the best ways to do this is through young people who have been through the experience first hand.

CivTech –  is a programme by the Scottish Government which invites tech companies to solve public sector challenges

Stirling’s young people highlighted mental health as a pressing issue for their age-group as part of the ‘Our Place, Our Space’ initiative, which gives their generation a voice in influencing services. Through the scheme they have had the opportunity to work alongside real industry professionals to solve the problem.

CEO of Voxsio, Michael McTernan, said: “At Voxsio, it is our mission to create conversations with young people that give them the tools and knowledge to manage their mental well-being.

Stirling High S5 pupil Sarah Purser, speaking on behalf of the Stirling Youth Leaders, said: “Mental health is a key issue for young people across Scotland, and we wanted to develop a digital solution that addressed the stigma of accessing mental health and also start a conversation around this important subject.”

Stirling’s young participants on the project were named as Youth Leaders given their equal status on the challenge team, working alongside Voxsio and co-sponsors Stirling Council, NHS National Services Scotland and Health Care Improvement Scotland.

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Film Media and Journalism student at the University of Stirling. Editor in Chief at Brig Newspaper. Edinburgh / Stirling

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