SORRENTO students have won a national innovation award for the design of a mental health app that tackles suicide, bullying and depression at high schools.
Sacred Heart College Year 9 students Alexandra Groves, Jack Bennett, Anthony Bullich, Tyler Williams won the junior category of Pitchfest and $10,000 at the National Australian Information Industry Association iAwards in Melbourne, also winning the right to compete in China next month.
Passion Your Purpose is a mobile phone app that addresses mental health impacts for teenage students that face serious issues affecting their health, wellbeing, education and social cohesion by providing an alternative and positive social solution to the usual response methods.
The app, which is in design phase, allows students to connect with young people with shared interests, based on their passions such as chess, music or sport.
School youth leaders are identified to support each passion area and can win points to encourage positive leadership behaviours.
The win comes after being a state finalist for the Just Start It Program with another Sacred Heart Colleage team from Year 9, beating 300 WA schools.
The school’s gifted and talented director Tanya Atherton said that it was inspirational and amazing to see the students win for Passion Your Purpose.
“I believe this app has the potential to really make a difference to students feeling like they belong and bring in those who might be reluctant or shy, together with like minds to enjoy a common interest,” she said.
Mental Health Minister Roger Cook congratulated the students.
“These young people have done such a great job putting together a really interesting concept for an app that can help their peers,” he said.
“It’s alarming that 75 per cent of mental health issues start before the age of 25.
Creating resilience and getting involved in the community is a great way to deliver mental health services and I wish the team every success with the development of their innovative idea.”
The team’s mentor from Just Start It, Lainey Weiser, said the app would start with a trial at Sacred Heart College, then be trialled at 10 other schools in 2019, with potential for it to be used at schools across the country.