Mission: To create a mhealth platform that delivers evidence based strategies for mental health problems. 

Summary of relevant work: 

Currently 76% of the world’s population have a mobile subscription in the world population, with 4.4 billion mobile subscriptions globally. In 2013 alone, it was estimated 6,385,000 mobile phone subscriptions were taken out worldwide, and 5,235,000 of these subscriptions were in developing countries. Globally it is estimated that 76 – 85 % people do not receive appropriate evidenced based treatment for mental health disorders. Given the increasing rate of mobile phone users in both the developing and developed world, the team brought together technology with health to explore a platform to help deliver evidence based strategies for mental health problems. We developed a range of mobile phone applications based on the principles of Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) in order to increase the accessibility to CBT strategies on a mobile platform.

Currently five applications are available globally (listed below). The first image in the image gallery to the right depicts where these applications are being downloaded.  

Functional Analysis - Basic Thought Diary 

This application is designed to help people record thoughts and beliefs that lead to emotional and psychological distress. By recording unhelpful thoughts, we can learn to identify thinking errors (also known as ‘negative’, ‘automatic’ or ‘dysfunctional’ thoughts). It is a common tool used in CBT to assist individuals in identifying unhelpful thinking patterns, which will then provide the opportunity to challenge and change these thoughts and thereby reducing psychological distress                

Mood and Anxiety Diary

The mood / anxiety diary involves people rating their mood and / or levels of anxiety at regular intervals in order to help them recognize the factors which may be impacting on their mood or anxiety. Low mood and anxiety are closely linked and often a person with low mood will experience increased anxiety, and a person with an anxiety problem may suffer from low mood. This is why we designed the mood / anxiety diary to track mood and anxiety together, which will help users to see if there is an interaction between mood and anxiety. However, the application also allows users to track either mood or anxiety individually. This may be helpful if an individual is suffering from a depression, bipolar or anxiety. In addition, it can be used to see if a particular intervention such as medication or therapy helps reduce anxiety and stabilize mood.

Complex Thought Diary

The Thought Diary Pro is the advanced version of Thought Diary, and allows the identification of thinking errors (also known as ‘cognitive distortions’), and the modification of our unhelpful thoughts into more productive ways of thinking. By challenging the thoughts and beliefs that cause discontentment, dissatisfaction and other emotional and behavioral distress, we can improve our mental health and can change the destructive or adverse behaviors we may engage in as a result of our negative thoughts.

Activity Diary (Behavioral Activation and Activity Scheduling)

The Activity Diary is based upon Behavioral Activation, which is commonly used as a first line treatment strategy for depression. There are two main components of this Activity Diary: activity monitoring and activity scheduling. Activity monitoring involves recording daily activities in a diary format.  By doing this it offers both the therapist and the person a look at baseline activity levels, and to explore the relationship between activities, emotions, and thoughts. The activity diary can then be used to highlight any need for problem solving if there are other obstacles that are interfering in planning activities.  Activity scheduling is aimed at increasing contact with positive reinforcement in the environment, and increasing a person’s sense of achievement and enjoyment. By increasing enjoyable events, a person’s mood can lift. In addition, by achieving tasks that had been previously avoided, a person’s self-belief may improve by challenging negative thoughts about themselves (e.g. I am lazy / useless) and leading to more positive self-view and increase hope in the future. Like all the applications, the Activity Diary is designed to complement CBT by ease of recording data and communicating this information via graphs and records for individuals and therapists

Behavioral Experiments

A behavioral experiment is a technique often used in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and it allows you to test out the accuracy of unhelpful beliefs, try out new beliefs or behaviors and observe the results. Behavioral Experiments let us to take on the role of a scientist to try out new ways of behaving and observe what happens as a result of changing our behavior. This informs us of whether our beliefs are accurate and helpful, and gives us the opportunity to change them to better fit the results. There are many benefits of undertaking behavioral experiments including helping to manage emotions better, the opportunity to try alternative ways of behaving, and directly challenging unhelpful beliefs. The Behavioral Experiments application can be used when you want to challenge an unhelpful belief, and you want to try alternative ways of behaving in a previously feared or avoided situation.

Currently the applications cost between £1.99 and £2.99 to download. These costs can be met by health providers by giving clients a code or voucher to download them, or users can opt to pay the cost of the app download themselves. The applications are only available on the IOS operating system but there are plans to extend to the Android operating system in the future.