Compassion app from Salford lecturer is top rated by review

Categories: School of Health and Society

A review of compassion apps for better mental health has found the Self-Compassion App, developed by the University of Salford’s Dr Elaine Beaumont, to be the best available.

Compassion, and responding with kindness and empathy to the suffering of yourself and others, has increasingly been linked to better mental and physical wellbeing. Apps encouraging people to practice compassion have begun to develop as a way of helping people improve their wellbeing while avoiding some of the barriers that may exist for some people with in-person therapies.

However, many mental health and wellbeing apps have not been scientifically studied, meaning they vary in quality and some have even been shown to offer advice that could be harmful.

The study reviewed 24 different apps, looking at their quality using the Mobile App Rating Scale, and their consistency with current evidence by comparing them to existing and studied compassion-based interventions.

Reviewers found that: “The ‘Self Compassion App’, which explores the practices and theory of Compassion Focused Therapy, stands out with the high quality of the information that it offers and the engaging way in which this information is offered. It contains different options for customisation and different interactive features (such as a measurement of heart rate variability).” 

In contrast, 15 of the 24 compassion apps reviewed did not include content rated as being consistent with existing evidence-based practice.

Elaine, who is a lecturer in Counselling and Psychotherapy at the university, said: "We are really delighted to see this review. We know people prefer to digest information about mental health and wellbeing in different formats, for example, via phones, face-to-face therapy, virtual reality programmes, and self-help books. Mobile technologies can offer practical, interactive exercises with users being able to track and monitor their wellbeing and engage with practices that work best for them. Digital mental and physical health interventions are becoming more readily available in routine care and mobile technology could play an important role in boosting wellbeing and help people learn to be kinder to themselves.”

You can read the full review here.

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