NHS Apps library sees jump in visits and mental health research survey launched

The NHS Apps Library, containing over 70 approved health apps, has seen unique visits to the website jump from 22,000 per week to 52,000 per week in March.Mental health apps in the month were the most searched for category, with an average of 6 visits per minute.

Clearly, government-imposed self-isolating measures have spurred the public to seek out mental health digital tools for support during the current crisis.Apps available include ‘Be Mindful’ – an online course to reduce stress and anxiety through cognitive therapy and ‘Beat Panics’ to help overcome panic attacks.

The Library includes ‘White Wall’ to help people cope with stress and anxiety, ‘Catch it’ to help you catch negative thoughts and ‘Chill Panda’, to provide breathing technique to help you relax.

Oxford University has now launched a new research survey to track children and young people’s mental health throughout the COVID-19 crisis to identify what advice, support and help can actually protect their mental health.

Professor Cathy Creswell, Departments of Psychiatry and Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford, said “At this point, we know very little about what might be most effective in the current context of COVID-19. We hope to have more than 10,000 parents and carers across the UK complete the new online survey. Their responses will help us really understand how families are coping and what support could make all the difference to children, young people and their families at this time.”

The survey, called Co-SPACE (COVID-19 Supporting Parents, Adolescents, and Children in Epidemics), aims to track children and young people’s mental health throughout the COVID-19 crisis.

Survey results will help researchers identify what protects children and young people from deteriorating mental health, over time, and at particular stress points, and how this may vary according to child and family characteristics. It also aims to identify what advice, support and help parents would find most useful. Parents/carers will be invited to complete an online longitudinal weekly questionnaire for a month, then fortnightly for a month, and then monthly until schools reopen.

Summaries of key findings will be made available via the UKRI ( research network website throughout the study and will be shared directly with partner organisations in health and education services.