Nicola Cassidy is an App Developer. She has just launched an App for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and has dropped by to talk about it.
Congratulations, Nicola, on the successful launch of the PTSD App. Can we go back a bit and look at why you thought such an app was needed?
When I was first diagnosed with PTSD, I had no idea what the condition was and to be honest wasn’t given any information. I didn’t know what symptoms I was suffering from that made this diagnosis or what was normal. I had no one to ask (I was just under my General Practitioner at this time) and so I turned to social media, Twitter, to seek out people who had the same diagnosis. I found some of the nicest and bravest people I’ve come across on there and got some amazing support from them when there was just no other help around.
In the UK there are two levels of care. I was referred for therapy within primary care. Unfortunately they said my needs were too complex for them and so referred me to secondary care services.
I was quite lucky that I was accepted by the Community Mental Health Team (CMHT) after a few months of being diagnosed and assigned a care coordinator to manage my care plan and that allowed me to go on a waiting list for more detailed therapy. There was a quick assessment but then quite a wait for actual therapy. Altogether it was probably 12-18 months I was waiting. During this time I seemed to go from crisis to crisis as I didn’t know the first thing about the feelings I was experiencing.
That sounds like a dreadful experience.
This was the reason I developed the app was because I didn’t want anyone to go through this time like I did. Especially in the current climate where funding for mental health is being cut all the time, the waiting lists are becoming longer and longer and referrals to the CMHT are routinely being refused. With this situation, an App like this is essential.
What could someone with PTSD expect to get if they download the App?
The main aim is to provide a peer support platform to share coping strategies for the different symptoms associated with the disorder
The app is divided in to 4 sections:
1) Information. This is where each symptom is explained in further detail with coping strategies that mainly come from the mental health professionals (things like WRAP Wellness Recovery Action Plan). Also on here is a link to some real life stories of people with PTSD.
2) Coping strategies. This is an important part of the app. Again, in symptom order, this is where users can share their own coping strategies by submitting under the correct symptom. These have to be approved by the administrator. It’s already populated with strategies that I gathered from an online survey.
3) Resources. This is a list of resources that are mentioned throughout the information section. The links open within the app.
4) Get help. This is where there is a list of countries with their respective phone numbers to help-lines.
There is a paid option for the App, along with a free option. Can you tell me why that is, and if the two options are different in terms of content?
Before my trauma, I ran my own successful online marketing business but as time went on, I was finding it more and more difficult to work. My reliability couldn’t be guaranteed and rightly, clients went elsewhere. I hit financial difficulties and only just made my bills every month.
When I had the idea for the app, I tried to do crowd funding to pay for the development. Whilst many people were extremely generous, the cost of the app far outweighed any money raised. I had to use my remaining savings to pay for it. There were so many hurdles along the way that meant costs mounted up, but I was extremely determined to complete it. Now that it has launched, I have monthly hosting costs to pay as well.
I did an online survey to ask if people would prefer the app to come at a small cost or for it to be free and have banner adverts (the small advert across the screen at the bottom). The result was pretty much 50/50 and so I decided to do both. I created a version that was free, with the banner ads, and with the option of an in app purchase to remove these ads for a very small fee (99p or 99c).
The actual content and functionality is the same for both.
I’m definitely interested, how do I download the App?
To find more about the app you can go to http://www.ptsdhub.com or the following links to download (it is available on both android and apple):
Android- http://bit.ly/androidPTSDhub or the full link is https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=argalon.com.informationapp&hl=en
Apple – http://apple.co/iosPTSDhub or the full link is https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ptsd-hub/id1257865149?ls=1&mt=8
Thank you Nicola for taking time out to answer questions about this App!