7 reasons why you should know about these mental health startups by our Young Change Agents

5 groups of Young Change Agents aged 13-16 have launched a crowdfund on StartSomeGood to take their product development to the next stage. Here is why that should be on everyone’s radar!

1. Youth mental health was the top issue identified by young people in the 2018 Mission Australia Youth Survey. In fact, the rate of young people identifying mental health as an issue has DOUBLED since 2017. Coping with stress is a key issue of concern with a whopping 42% of youth listing this as their top personal concern.

2. The PidgetFencil, MoveMat, Aromakey, Cerebrum and LinkLamp products have been made in direct response to empathy interviews with their peers which identified what was causing stress and how that young person could best relieve that stress and anxiety. They have been validated with other young people and now they need your help to raise the finance to invest in the next prototyping and testing cycle. (To get to this point, they have utilised funding from the NSW Government Youth Opportunities Grant to receive help from our team, youth mentors and partners including muru-D, StartSomeGood, Unboxd and the design team at Makerspace & Co.)

3. PidgetFencil addresses the problem of anxiety in the classroom especially in exams. It’s an attachment to a pen or pencil and is a bit like a Pandora bracelet in that you can choose from different materials to slot into your PidgetFencil and make it your own. This customisation allows the customer to choose what they want to fidget with – be that something rough, smooth or even fluffy. These can change over time and also when the pen/pencil runs out – it can move to the next one meaning less plastic waste! It’s also a cracker of a name from a hilarious group of Founders that are kind and entertaining. Watch the final scene of their crowdfunding video and you will see what I mean!

4. MoveMat is solving a problem that many youth have – the ability to sit still for long periods without becoming restless, stressed, frustrated or anxious. All of which can also cause disruption in the classroom. I read about a successful trial of teachers using desks with bike wheels underneath during class, but I think this idea might be more affordable and portable as kids move between classes. The MoveMat has two key parts on it that allow youth to push down or roll back and forward with their foot. Their validation indicated that this combination would be the most popular and effective. It would be great to get this to the next prototype stage so it can be properly tested in classroom trials.

5. Aromakey is the brainchild of two female founders who really delved deep in their empathy interviews to find out what helps people feel relief from stress and anxiety. Initially I thought a 3-in-1 product might be trying to take on too much – but the girls were so keen to ensure that their product combined providing something tactile, something you can squeeze like a stressball and an aromatherapy spray – all in a keyring form so that you can attach it to you school-bag! And they have done it – a portable spritzer stress ball keyring! Check it out!

6. Cerebrum is another all-female team who are passionate about horticultural therapy – the idea that by taking care of a plant we can also stop and take care of ourselves. Their handmade pots feature a white surface intended to be your whiteboard – where you can note down the care for your plant and your own care plan. The plants themselves have therapeutic properties and they plan on using the funding to make their first lot of products as well as their website which will share tips. It would make a beautiful gift for someone who is struggling.

7. LinkLamp are aiming to solve the problem of loneliness in young people through using lamps. The lamps are paired and you can send your friend or family member a signal using light to let them know you are thinking of them.

So check them out and support their mission to help alleviate stress in young people using the lens of social enterprise!