An App, which would deliver cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to people who’ve experienced a first episode of psychosis has received £450k worth of funding from the Medical Research Council.

It means that Dr Sandra Bucci and her team from the University of Manchester can begin developing the app.

“Schizophrenia is a serious mental health problem and the onset of psychosis can be a frightening experience for people. The Actissist app has the potential to transform care for people who experience psychosis by empowering them to take ownership over their own care in the community,” explained Dr Bucci.

“Our ultimate goal is to make helpful treatments more widely accessible and to provide more choice about how people receive treatment, with a view to reducing the number of psychotic episodes people experience, keeping people well and out of hospital. Currently 70 per cent of the costs of serious mental illness go on unplanned admissions to hospital, so reducing relapse will potentially lead to huge savings for the NHS.”

Actissist (The Active Assistance for Psychological Therapy) app will help patients by managing their own care at home through their mobile device. It will deliver personalised CBT strategies to help them identify and then manage their symptoms during their everyday lives. The hope is that it will cut out the need for unplanned hospital admissions.

At the moment this is a “proof-of-concept” study to provide 24 first episode psychosis patients with the app and 12 people will get another app designed just to monitor symptoms.