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MAKE MENTAL HEALTH a Global Priority is the theme of a regional competition launched by the MyChild Helpline App (MCHL), a UNICEF-supported initiative, in early October.

With a November 01st deadline for entries, the aim of the competition is to introduce children and their families to the app which connects them to national systems offering psychosocial support which addresses the psychological and social needs of individuals, families and communities.

In 2020, the UNICEF Office for the Eastern Caribbean Area (ECA) partnered with ChildLine Trinidad and Tobago and developed a mobile application which provides direct access to mental health and psychosocial support to children and families.

That app provides children with an array of child- friendly resources conveniently available and connects its users to child protection and other emergency services available in-country.

In 2021, UNICEF partnered with national child protection agencies to replicate the ChildLIne app in four (4) countries: namely, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The resulting MCHL app is now available on Google Play and the App Store and is free for download in the four countries.

In a release to the media, UNICEF indicated that the MyChild Helpline app does not store personal data and stressed that data is stored on the users’ phone. The release further explained that the app captures biographical information of its user such as sex, age, and country and social workers and counselors only have access to a users’ name when the user requests counselling through the app and decides to share that information.

To use the app and to take part in the competition children under 18-years old have to get permission from their parents or guardians.

Only children between the ages of 5-17 who are citizens/residents of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines can enter the competition.

Participants are asked to submit a three (3)-minute video promoting the MCHL App by doing a skit, a dialogue/conversation, art, essay, a poem, a story, a song or through any other creative medium to promote at least two or more features of the app.

Competitors are asked to reimagine mental health services for children and what are the best ways governments, communities, parents or their peers can support children’s mental health.

MCHL is encouraging the full participation of parents and teachers in this activity and noted that additional guidelines can be found on the app’s Instagram and Face Book pages.

The deadline for entries is Tuesday, November 01 at 3:00 pm.

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