Award Winning Anxiety App Developed at UWE
When we heard about the SAM App we had to get in touch with The University of The West of England to find out more about it and how our Parent Carers and the young people they care for could possibly make use of such an App. SAM was developed with late adolescents and adults in mind as a tool to aid the understanding and management of anxiety, monitor anxious thoughts and behaviour and has self help tools and exercises.
We spoke to Phil Topham a Research Fellow within the Faculty of Applied Science who is involved with the clinical aspects of the project who to ask how helpful it would be for our community.
Could you tell us more about SAM?
"SAM was designed for flexible navigation through its various information and self-help menus. If a user wants to plan a structured approach to learning to manage anxiety, they can work from the Get Started menu. If they want immediate help with panicky feelings, there is Help for Anxiety NOW. If they want to explore different approaches to anxiety management, there are lots of options to try. And users can compile their own Anxiety management Toolkit of those that they find most helpful."
Is it suitable for our young people who may have anxiety struggles?
"The Apple Store gives SAM a rating of 12 years + due to ‘slight references to drugs and alcohol ‘. So it should be most suitable for adult carers; while there may be specific self-help options that appeal to younger users, we couldn’t recommend their use; not so much because they are likely to be harmful, but because they are written for adults and may not connect so well with younger people’s concerns and approaches to personal problem-solving."
What else is unique about SAM?
"There is the Social Cloud, a closed and anonymous network of SAM users. We have found that there is a lot of emotional support offered by users, although it may not always be directed specifically at anxiety management."
Where Can We Get SAM?
"You can get SAM downloadable for free from sam-app.org.uk "
So for Parent Carers it could be a really useful tool for us but we would recommend checking out the app first if you are thinking of it for your young adult, it is free to download, have a go yourself and get a feel if it is something that is appropriate for your young person and if it would be relatable to them enough to make use of, they are all unique and different, what works / is appropriate for one might not work / be appropriate for another.
We had a play about exploring the app and were particularly impressed by the Help For Anxiety NOW option and the calm breathing exercises that gives you a visual aid to help breathe in and breathe out to a rhythm that is calming. We also loved the Picture Calming exercise that is so much like Mindfulness some of us here at SGPC HQ are fans of. You choose a beautiful image from the menu that is then not visible, use your finger to rub across the screen to reveal the image one stroke at a time. Whilst you do this, really pay attention to all the details being revealed, so your attention is diverted away from your thoughts to the image helping the mind to calm. You can add any tools you find help into your own personalised toolkit too. So Clever!
We hope this App helps you if you need to find a way to manage anxiety, do let us know how you get on with it, we would be interested to hear.