‘CopeSmart’ is a mobile app for young people and students which aims to foster positive mental health though emotional self-awareness and the promotion of positive coping strategies. The information presented in the app is based on the work of Professor Erica Frydenberg, find expert in adolescent coping from the University of Melbourne.
The app was created with the help of the Youth Mental Health Lab at UCD School of Psychology. This lab aims to develop and evaluate new ways to give young people information about how to cope effectively with their problems, and provided some of the necessary resources for the creation on the app. In 2012, the YMH Lab team conducted research involving focus groups with a range of students.
Assessments of these students included obtaining information of their mental health needs in relation to mobile technologies. The UCD lab identified safety, engagement and functionality as key components of any mobile app designed to promote positive mental health. It was with these findings and the help of Origin Creative, an Irish branding group that the CopeSmart was created.
Mental health among students is becoming an ever more relevant subject in UCD. Last semester saw Mind Body and Soul events, as well as the continued services of Please Talk and several other campaigns to raise awareness and combat these issues. The College Tribune spoke to one UCD student who spoke about how useful the app could be, “College life can definitely take its toll on you… the workload, trouble at home, I mean it all adds up. Not to mention working outside of college… yeah I definitely wouldn’t mind having that kind of app, it couldn’t hurt”.
CopeSmart was rigorously tested throughout 2013 by young people in educational institutions around the country. To date 11 schools and over 550 students have been involved. This project has been undertaken as part of a PhD thesis being completed by Ms. Rachel Kenny and is funded by the Irish Research Council. Previews of the app were made available on the January 9th at the BT Young Scientist exhibition, and it is set for full release in the near future.