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In a first for the UK and in mental health, ²gether NHS Foundation Trust have released the first version of a new, innovative and unique mobile app that everyone can download for free and use to monitor their mood – the Moodometer.

Emotional wellbeing is as important as our physical health and the more we are aware of how we feel – be it happy or sad – the more we can start to take control of our own health.

The Moodometer app is discrete and enables user to:

            • Rate their mood using mood icons
            • Record comments in a confidential mood diary
            • Receive instant top tips
            • Access self help information
            • Track their mood through weekly and monthly interactive mood graphs
            • View how people are feeling nationally and locally to them

If you’re feeling down for longer periods, the app gives you options on how and where to get further help. For users of the app within the Gloucestershire region these include access to short films and questionnaires on the Trust’s Let’s Talk website and more direct help from ²gether’s Let’s Talk NHS therapists. For users outside the region they will be directed to national help from organisations like the Samaritans.

The emphasis on directing people to self help information encourages early intervention. This can help reduce the risk of more serious mental illness in the future.

To help ensure that the app meets the needs of our communities, the Moodometer was developed with the Trust’s Children’s Board from Action for Children and our Let’s Talk – Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) service.

With millions of people updating Twitter and Facebook statuses with their feelings and moods everyday, the Moodometer allows the people of Gloucestershire to do the same but on a more personal level.

Shaun Clee, Chief Executive of ²gether said: “We use technology to give our communities greater choice and more ways to access information and local NHS and national services. The app can help us know ourselves better so we can then decide how to take control of our own emotional wellbeing”.

Technology is part of everybody’s life and more and more people are going online for health information. Last year alone there were over 100 million visits to the NHS Choices website. The development and availability of apps is the natural next step of the technology evolution.

²gether’s Moodometer is leading the way by giving people the information they want and need at a time and place suitable for them. In the first week of release, hundreds of people have already downloaded the application and are saying how it will help them.

An important function of the app is how it can help tackle the stigma that so often surrounds mental health. This is an important area of work for the Trust and we have worked closely with Time to Change, the national mental health anti stigma campaign, to promote understanding both locally and nationally.

Sue Baker, Director of the national mental health anti stigma campaign Time to Change said: “Measuring and tracking our mood each day can help us to understand the causes of our highs and lows and aid our emotional wellbeing. By sharing this information with an online community, other people can help us to feel supported through the bad days.

Mental health discrimination is a huge problem throughout society, with nine out of 10 people who experience mental health problems saying that stigma is one of the biggest barriers to recovery, wellbeing and being able to lead an active life.”

The application is available to download free of charge on the App Store for the iPhone and iPod. The Trust will develop the application on other mobile platforms if the current version proves popular.

²gether hopes that other mental health trusts will see the benefit of the application and want to use the technical infrastructure already in place that supports the app and signpost users, according to their location, to Trust specific local NHS therapists and services.

You can download the app and view the on-line Moodometer by clicking here.