A group of young people from Stirling is leading an innovative approach to developing new digital solutions which support young people with mental health challenges.

Stirling Youth Leaders spent three months researching and developing a challenge focused on how technology can help young people start conversations about mental health. It has the support of NHS National Services Scotland, Stirling Council, and Health Care Improvement Scotland as co-sponsors, along with Young Scot and the Youth Commission on Mental Health.

It is a first for CivTech®; enabling citizens to have direct say in the procurement process and paves the way for more meaningful citizen engagement in how public services are procured.

The challenge was published in July as part of CivTech® 3.0, the third round of the Scottish Government’s award-winning programme which invites technology innovators to submit solutions to public sector challenges.

After leading the scoring and sifting of proposals, the Youth Leaders selected Voxsio, an Edinburgh-based technology company, to enter the accelerator phase which was launched today by Derek Mackay, the Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Economy and Fair Work.

“The idea behind our choice was to help remove the stigma surrounding mental health,” said Youth Leaders, Evie, Ruby, and Harriet in a joint statement.

“We wanted technology that could offer personalised help and we felt Voxsio engaged with the issue and listened to what we were saying. It is really exciting to be leading a new approach on such a key issue for young people all across Scotland”.

During the four month accelerator phase, Voxsio, the Youth Leaders, and co-sponsors will work together to develop a prototype solution using conversational artificial intelligence.

Emily Horgan and Michael McTernan, from Voxsio, said: “It is a pleasure to work with the Youth Leaders and match their enthusiasm in improving mental health discussions.

“Our priority is to start conversations around mental health and we believe it is crucial that conversations around mental health are personalised. Voxsio are using conversational artificial intelligence to help support young people in dealing with mental health issues.”