Are you aged 16 to 25 with personal experience of hearing voices? Can you help us build an app?

Are you aged 16–25 with personal experience of hearing voices others don’t?

Would you be interested in helping us build an app for young voice-hearers who might be struggling to cope with their experiences?

The project so far …

Back in 2019 we launched Understanding Voices, our website for voice-hearers, family members and health professionals. The ‘Living with Voices’ section, written by voice-hearers for voice-hearers, is a particularly popular part of the site and we want to develop it into an app for young people.

Last year we ran a short consultation to check this idea out with young people who hear voices. They were really positive and told us some of the features that might make it useful. We’re really excited to have won funding to build the first phase of the app.

How can I get involved?

We’re now looking for a group of young people (aged 16–25) with first-hand experience of hearing voices who would like to work with us to build a pilot version of the app. We’re running a series of three online workshops in which we’ll co-design the app and develop its features together. You definitely don’t need any prior knowledge or experience of app design or digital technology to take part. We just want people who are interested in the idea and are keen to use their own lived experience to help make the app as useful as possible.

In the workshops, we’ll look at how aspects of our website Understanding Voices can be adapted specifically for young people and delivered via an app. We’ll also explore:

  • What should the app look like and how should it feel to use? What kinds of colours, logos, graphic elements and imagery would be appealing? What kinds of things should we avoid?
  • What kind of functions and features should the app have? We know from our initial consultation that people would like de-stigmatising information about hearing voices, people’s stories, personalised coping strategies and access to peer support via an app, but exactly what this might look like is still up for grabs.
  • What kind of topics should be the focus of the information resources provided through the app? What formats are most appropriate? And what kinds of language and tone would be best?

When are the workshops on?

The workshops will take place on Zoom (an online meeting platform) at the following dates and times:

  • Monday 21 March (6–7.30pm)
  • Monday 28 March (6–7.30pm)
  • Monday 4 April (6–7.30pm)

They will be facilitated by Rai Waddingham (voice-hearer, mental health trainer) and/or Sarah Morgan from Voice Collective, Ben Alderson-Day (a researcher) and Victoria Patton (a project manager). Whether you’re new to Zoom or an old hand at digital workshops, we’ll make sure everyone is fully supported to take part.

Do I need to go to all the workshops?

No. Ideally, we’d like people who want to be involved in this project to commit to all three of the workshops, but if you’re keen to be involved and can only make one or two that is absolutely fine.

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 ideas and suggestions and use them in a meaningful way. Everyone who participates will also receive a generous shopping voucher per online workshop as a token of appreciation for their time and expertise.

Who is involved in this project?

The Living with Voices app is a collaboration between Hearing the Voice and the Institute for Medical Humanities (Durham University), Voice Collective (a London-based organisation that supports young people who hear, see or sense things others don’t), Rachel Waddingham (voice-hearer, mental health trainer) and Dr Sarah Parry (Lancaster University), who was the lead researcher on the Young Voices Study (Manchester Metropolitan University). It is funded by the Durham Economic and Social Research Council Impact Accelerator Awards, Research England and the Wellcome Trust.

Do I need to live in the UK to be part of this?

No. The co-design process is open to any young person who hears voices and would like to get involved. The workshops 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 the co-design workshops, please email Victoria Patton telling us a bit about yourself and why you’d like to participate. We look forward to hearing from you!

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