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Digital Social and Emotional Literacy Intervention for Vulnerable Children in Brazil: Participants’ Experiences

Louise Freeland1, Michelle O’Reilly2, Juliana Fleury3, Sarah Adams4, Panos Vostanis1,*
1 Department Neuroscience, Psychology and Behaviour, University of Leicester, Leicester, LE1 7RH, UK
2 Department of Sociology, University of Leicester, Leicester, LE1 7RH, UK
3 Associação pela Saúde Emocional de Crianças (ASEC), São Paulo, 01000, Brazil
4 Department of Education, University of Leicester, Leicester, LE1 7RH, UK
* Corresponding Author: Panos Vostanis. Email:

International Journal of Mental Health Promotion 2022, 24(1), 51-67.

Received 03 January 2021; Accepted 08 March 2021; Issue published 20 December 2021


Social emotional literacy (SEL) interventions are widely implemented through schools, with growing evidence for a range of positive child outcomes. Increasingly, such interventions are delivered on online platforms. To date, there is limited evidence about digital SEL interventions in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). The aim of this study was to explore the perceptions and experiences of children, parents and facilitator of the potential value of addressing SEL via tailored digital intervention. The intervention was designed to help children, in Brazil, to cope during the first COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. The intervention was delivered via a digital platform to groups of three children for 45 min per week for nine. Thirteen children, nine parents and nine facilitators were interviewed following the completion of the intervention. The data was analysed through a codebook thematic approach, which led to three themes: empowerment, participatory aspects of the intervention and digital adaptation. Overall, children’s SEL development was reported to be supported during the COVID-19 pandemic, by the application of new skills outside the sessions. Children reported a number of empowering factors such as being heard and belonging. A range of useful participatory tools were identified including storytelling, games, drawings and videos. Blended SEL interventions involving both face-to-face and web-based facilitation could be developed within a tiered model of universal mental health promotion and targeted prevention. Access to online platforms would increase reach to large numbers of children in LMIC, especially in contexts of disadvantage.


Child; social emotional literacy; intervention; digital; low- and middle-income countries

Cite This Article

Freeland, L., O’Reilly, M., Fleury, J., Adams, S., Vostanis, P. (2022). Digital Social and Emotional Literacy Intervention for Vulnerable Children in Brazil: Participants’ Experiences. International Journal of Mental Health Promotion, 24(1), 51–67.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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