Back in 2018, Hearing the Voice (HtV) launched a new website, Understanding Voices (UV), to help support people who hear voices and their loved ones.

We now have a chance to apply for funds to develop an app for young people who hear voices.

While we are using the Living with Voices section of the site as a starting point, the design and functionality of the app itself is up for grabs and we need some help to figure things out.

We have questions … lots of questions! How could an app help young people who hear voices? What might it do that would be useful? What would make it off-putting? We know there are lots of mental health apps out there that just sit on the digital shelf or are downloaded and then hardly ever used.

Would the app have information and coping strategies? A peer support forum? A diary? Or people’s stories? How should it look and feel to use?

If you’re aged 16–25 with personal experience of hearing voices, we’d love to hear what you think. We’d like to hear from people who are interested in using digital technology to help them cope with their voices, but if you’re someone who doesn’t like using apps for mental health purposes, we’re also keen to understand more about why.

If you’d like to take part in this consultation, you can choose to complete an anonymous survey and/or sign up for one of our online focus groups.

When are the focus groups on?
The focus groups will take place on Zoom (an online meeting platform) at the following dates and times:

  • Thursday 4th November (7.15–8.45pm)
  • Tuesday 9th November (6–7.30pm)
  • Tuesday 16th November (6–7.30pm)

They will be facilitated by Rai Waddingham (voice-hearer, mental health trainer) and/or Sarah Morgan from Voice Collective, Mary Robson (HtV creative facilitator) and Victoria Patton (UV Project Lead). Whether you’re new to Zoom or an old hand at digital workshops, we’ll make sure everyone is fully supported to take part.

What about the online survey?
We also have an anonymous online survey for anyone who is interested in this project. You can complete the online survey if you would like to share your views but can’t or don’t want to take part in the focus groups. Or you can complete the survey and attend one of the focus groups. Just fill in our online registration form, and we’ll send you the link.

Why should I take part?
We hope you’ll take part because you’d like to help shape an app for young people who hear voices and make it as useful as possible. Our commitment to you is that we will listen to your feedback, use it in a meaningful way, and if the project goes ahead, ensure that there are opportunities for you to get more involved.

Everyone who completes the online survey or participates in a focus group discussion will receive a gift voucher as a token of appreciation for their time and expertise (£10 voucher for online survey; £25 voucher for focus group participation).

Who else is involved in this project?
If we’re successful in our bid for funding, the Living with Voices app will be a collaboration between Hearing the Voice (Durham University), Voice Collective (a London-based organisation that supports young people who hear, see or sense things others don’t) and researchers from the Young Voices Study (Manchester Metropolitan University).

Do I need to live in the UK to be part of this?
No. The consultation process is open to any young person who hears voices and would like to share their views. The survey and focus groups will take place in English and all times are Greenwich Mean Time.

How can we support you to participate?
We’d like to hear from young people of different genders, sexual orientations, (dis)abilities, ethnic and religious backgrounds. If there is anything we can do to help you to participate, please let us know.

 I’d like to take part. What do I do?
To register an interest in taking part in either the focus groups or online survey, please fill in this form: Living with Voices registration form. We look forward to hearing from you!

If you have any questions about this project, feel free to get in touch with Victoria.