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SlowMo app goals to helps individuals with psychosis

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London design studio Particular Tasks has labored with scientific psychologists to develop SlowMo, a psychological well being app for individuals experiencing psychosis that shall be trialled by the UK’s Nationwide Well being Service.

Designed to work alongside in-person remedy, the SlowMo app permits customers to establish and report unhelpful “fast-thinking” patterns and sluggish them down via the usage of animated bubbles.

The SlowMo app is designed for use alongside an in-person remedy programme

The programme has been in growth for the final 5 years, led by analysis scientific psychologist Amy Hardy and her crew at King’s Faculty London. Particular Tasks got here on board following a managed trial to hone the person expertise, technique and branding.

Psychotic episodes generally contain disorganised ideas, hallucinations or delusions, inflicting individuals to see, hear or imagine issues that aren’t actual.

Smartphone screen showing a grey bubble with text reading someone is following me
Customers can report worrying ideas within the type of gray bubbles of various sizes

The app’s major perform is to assist customers monitor and recall these unhelpful ideas, which they’ll establish and title by creating a gray “fear bubble” that’s then scaled to signify how extreme the concern feels on the time.

Later, they’ll talk about these worries with their therapist. However within the second, the app offers customers the chance to handle them independently, with prompts encouraging them to reframe their view and take into account components which may be inflicting fast-thinking patterns.

“How would you see issues in case you had been in a greater temper,” the app asks. Or: “might it’s about them, not you?”

A hand holds a smartphone displaying a card-shaped box with text that reads the past does not always predict the future
The app affords prompts to cease customers’ ideas from spiralling

“Paranoia is commonly related to fast-thinking habits, equivalent to leaping to conclusions,” Particular Tasks co-founder Clara Gaggero instructed Dezeen. “The SlowMo strategy of ‘slowing down’ offers sufferers with tricks to discover new info and prompts them to formulate ‘safer ideas’ to reframe their mindset.”

These safer ideas take the type of iridescent-coloured bubbles with statements drawn from the ideas that customers discovered resonated with them. “It is only a coincidence” or “it is not about me”, they may learn.

“The ‘slowing down’ course of could initially take a couple of moments, however it will definitely turns into second nature, serving to customers to not soar to conclusions for any worrying ideas,” Gaggero mentioned.

App showing soap bubbles with different affirmations on the inside
Customers convert helpful ideas into “safer ideas”

Exterior of this performance, the SlowMo app additionally accommodates a “toolkit” of different sources for customers, alongside content material equivalent to interactive actions for remedy classes.

Particular Tasks designed the structure of the app based mostly on interviews with individuals who have lived expertise of psychosis. This helped the studio perceive how one can evolve the app, prioritising constructive interactions and the emergency slowing-down performance.

“We wished to maintain a cautious steadiness between constructive optimistic interactions and reliable gravitas,” mentioned Particular Tasks senior designer Alexa Münch.

The interviews additionally led the studio to prioritise transparency and information safety within the design, as issues about being adopted and tracked on-line characteristic closely amongst individuals who expertise psychosis.

Because of this, the app is designed to retailer all private content material domestically on the affected person’s gadget, and the person can actively select what info they need to share with their therapist each time they’re synching information.

As an example, they may have recorded 4 ideas that had been regarding to them however select to share solely two with the therapist.

A hand fingers a small card with text that reads
A card deck can be utilized as a bodily different to the app

And since one-quarter of individuals with extreme psychosis don’t personal a smartphone – and others may not need to take it out in public – there may be additionally a bodily deck of playing cards with tricks to function a substitute for the app.

Customers can preserve playing cards of their pocket and peek at them for a immediate to assist them keep away from spiralling into worrying thought patterns.

Person taking iridescent playing card out of pocket
The playing cards are moveable and pocket-sized

The SlowMo crew has been awarded £1.3 million in funding from the Wellcome basis to develop the app past its present clickable prototype type and take a look at it throughout three Nationwide Well being Service (NHS) trusts. The plan is to ultimately provide it throughout the entire NHS.

The crew hopes SlowMo will assist to beat the constraints of present medicines and speaking therapies, which they are saying are sometimes tougher for marginalised teams to entry whereas delivering poorer outcomes and adherence.

Two women look at a laptop and phone screen that display options for sychronising data
The app permits customers to manage how a lot of their information is shared

“Opposite to the fast-paced method adopted by many tech corporations, the crew at King’s Faculty London has centered on doing the precise factor, totally and in an evidence-based approach,” mentioned Particular Tasks co-founder Adrian Westaway.

“The depth of the analysis and scientific research mixed with the give attention to inclusivity and addressing the digital divide has made this an necessary collaboration for us to participate in.”

Psychological well being apps have proliferated in recent times together with the rise in telehealth. Whereas providing advantages equivalent to diminished prices and improved entry, such companies are additionally criticised for deprioritising private interplay with a medical skilled and compromising information safety.

Different design studios which have explored the usage of apps for psychological well being embody NewTerritory, which has created an idea for psychedelic-assisted remedy referred to as Human Nature.



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