A mental health app designed by the University of Manchester has secured £1.6m in research funding after showing promising results following a proof-of-concept trial.
Actissist was designed by researchers to help people with early psychosis by targeting a number of areas sufferers have difficulty with, including perceived criticism from significant others, cannabis use and distress caused by psychotic symptoms such as hearing voices.
Senior Lecturer in Clinical Psychology Dr Sandra Bucci led the trial, which showed that participants liked using the app.
“Some participants showed improvements over time in psychotic symptoms and in their mood when compared to the control group who used a symptom monitoring app called ClinTouch,” she said.
“Participants also reported that they enjoyed using Actissist, with 90 per cent of participants saying that they would recommend it to others experiencing psychosis.
“The potential benefit of an app for psychosis is that people are able to access help and support at any time and in any place, unlike traditional support options.”
The results will now be tested in a Medical Research Council funded £1.6m programme of work.
When using the app, patients are invited to choose an aspect of their mental health to work on. They receive messages, hints and tips for coping with distressing experiences.
The app also contains videos, a diary, links to useful websites, factsheets and mindfulness and relaxation exercises. It also has a graphical read-out of any changes in their psychotic experiences.
The participants in the trial used the Actissist app over 12 weeks and were then assessed for any change in their symptoms and well-being.