Essex former teacher creates app for children

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A former teacher created a mental health app for children that developed from the school gates.

Tracy Gladman 48, from Latchingdon was able to see firsthand how anxiety was affecting children’s mental health. Rather than just talking about it, Tracy gave up the profession she loved to do something about it.

The aim of the Worrinots app is to provide children with a platform that they can use to communicate their worries, fears and anxieties.

Harm

Tracy said: “When I was teaching it was getting to the point when I was taking Monday morning phone calls from the parent telling me their child won’t be in as they have overdosed. Student arriving with the bandages on their wrist, you know they have started self-harming, but when will I get the chance to talk to them.

“I was frustrated by not having the time to help the kids emotionally and like a number of teaching staff I found that, even after 20 years I still loved teaching, yet year on year the pressure to complete paperwork, tick boxes and pacify an out of touch senior leadership team was increasing.

“Working in education was becoming increasingly volatile; redundancy from what I thought was a settled position, couldn’t settle in another college, then went to another, I lasted 8 months. I thought long and hard about it, knowing this could be my opportunity to leave the teaching profession but still able to make a positive impact on children’s lives was looking attractive to me, so I decided to take the leap of faith.”

Tracy who is set to become a grandmother for the first time this year, developed the app at her husband’s business in Burnt Mills, Basildon. The Worrinots application and characters have been developed with the help of some of the UK’s leading child psychologists to encourage children to share their concerns and deal with them appropriately.

Tracey continued: “Some parents were talking at the school gates on day and said how they would like to know their childrens worries and be able to help them so thats how the ides started.”

Awards

The Worrinots won the UK App Award 2017 and is accredited by Orcha, the organisation for the review of care and health applications. Tracy has just set up a partnership with kids’ mental health charity No Panic.

Tracy concluded: “We have had excellent feedback from parents so far. We need to get the message out their to children.”

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