Self-help Anxiety Management
On the face of it, the life of a student doesn’t seem stressful, but the continued pressure of exams and the desire to succeed, coupled with the additional financial strain, can make being a student difficult.
The University of the West of England (UWE) is home to over 25,000 students, some of whom need a helping hand in measuring their stress levels, taking action if things get too much.
A combined team from the Department of Psychology and the Department of Computer Science and Creative Technologies approached MyOxygen to develop the Student Anxiety Management (SAM) app which would:
- Help users personally monitor and track their levels of stress and anxiety.
- Provide guidance and support for users whose stress levels are increasing, presenting appropriate stress management options where appropriate.
- Built around a design interface that is engaging, easy to use and social.
- Work across all IOS and Android platforms.
Making it happen
The team at UWE, lead by psychologist Phil Topham, worked in partnership to create the SAM app SAM is believed to be one of the first apps of its kind developed by a university for use by students.
MyOxygen delivered Android and IOS based variants of the SAM Application also including access to a newly created "Social Cloud" platform where users can interact and communicate, to increase mobile engagement.
SAM is a psycho-educational tool that runs on smartphones and tablets to help users understand and manage their anxiety. It incorporates a range of self-help activities that are available 24/7 on the users' device.
SAM provides self-help tools for monitoring the user's anxious reactions in different situations and a range of self-help options to help in learning to manage their anxiety. These include relaxation exercises, meditation, calming images and interactive games. Users may also share anonymously in peer support through a closed social network of other users.
SAM is based on an academic knowledge of how the mind generates anxiety and draws on established methods of psychological self-help for reducing anxiety. MyOxygen’s development team and the experts at UWE implemented best practice in human-computer interaction design and usability evaluation studies have ensured that the app is intuitive and easy to use.
The project has been extremely successful and topped 100,000 downloads in the first three months of being launched.
The Social Cloud platform has seen multiple postings daily and is being used continually to allow users the ability to post from the app to the Social Cloud in a similar way Facebook.
The collaboration, the first of its kind in the UK and potentially the world, is providing a model for future interactions and developments with the world of academia.
What the client said
As a resident psychologist at the university the SAM app was crucial to the wellbeing of the UWE students. The app has been beneficial in supporting students who were suffering from anxiety or stress.
University of The West of England Bristol