Published: 17 April 2015

Psychologists develop App to help people maintain their mental health

Catch it app screenshot

Psychologists at the University of Liverpool have developed a smartphone app to help people maintain their mental health using the principles of cognitive behavioural therapy.

They are now asking members of the public to test it out to help improve it.

The `Catch It` app was modelled on one-to-one therapy sessions and illustrates some of the key principles of psychological approaches to mental health and well-being, specifically Cognitive Behavourial Therapy (CBT). It allows users to record their feelings, what prompted their emotions, and what they were thinking at the time.

Re-evaluate thoughts and emotions

`Catch It` then prompts users to think differently about the situation – for instance, how they might advise a friend to think about the situation, how they might think if they looked back on the situation in a week’s time, or how they would like to think about the situation in an ideal world.  This is designed to allow users to re-evaluate their emotions and think about things from another perspective.

Professor Peter Kinderman, Head of the Institute of Psychology, Health and Society who developed the app, said: “The way we think about ourselves, the world and other people can affect our emotions and can ultimately lead to mental health problems.

“We hope `Catch It` will prove to be a tool which will help people manage their own emotions and, ultimately maintain their mental health and psychological well-being. If people can learn how to understand how their emotions are related to their thoughts, and learn to change the way they think, we believe people can really improve their mental health.

Feedback

“We’ve already had feedback from users, who’ve told us that the app is very helpful at developing self-awareness and building a more realistic and balanced approach to potentially stressful situations.

“Now, we’d like to invite more people to test out the app and to give us feedback on its performance that will allow us to make it really effective.”

The `Catch It’ app was developed by psychologists at the Universities of Liverpool and Manchester as a unique learning tool for students on the University’s online course `Beyond Nature and Nurture’ which will be open to learners in April.

The app, built by the University’s mobile development team based in the Computing Services Department, is available to download here:  http://appstore.liv.ac.uk/catch-it.

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