A new app has been co-created by a group of 16-25 year olds to help young people affected by mental health issues.

The project has been led by leading arts centre FACT, in collaboration with Mersey Care NHS Trust and Red Ninja Studios, and has been funded by Comic Relief, Nominet Trust and the Creative Skills for Life initiative.

The In Hand App has been developed in response to growing concerns over mental health problems among under-18s, with one in ten now thought to be living with a diagnosable condition in the UK.

The app acts as a simple, digital ‘friend’ that promotes mental well-being and offers support through some of those difficult moments that many young people face.

Using a traffic lights system, the app allows users to communicate how they are feeling and empowers them by suggesting a series of actions that may help them to overcome feelings of stress, anxiety or depression. The app also aims to raise awareness and understanding of the steps individuals can take when they’re struggling to help themselves feel better.

Charlotte, one of the young people who has worked on the project added: ” I feel that this app will be really useful for all young people, not just those dealing with the effects of mental health issues. It is important to us that we can reach out and support other young people in the wider community.”

Louise Latter, Young People’s Programmer at FACT said: “The creation of In Hand has been a real joined-up effort, but essentially has been developed by young people for young people, which we feel is vital to the success of the app. We listened to the things that were important to young people and have made the app customisable so that each user can tailor their own journey.”

In Hand is just one project created by Freehand, the Young People’s Programme at FACT working with 13 to 25-year-olds in film, art and technology. FACT engages participants as producers as well as consumers of digital media, creating new forms of collective learning and expression, new tools and platforms for representation and dialogue.

Working at a pace that respects participants’ needs, FACT works closely with partner organisations to ensure projects are sustainable, support participants and provide longer-term cultural development.

In Hand has been created as part of the Innovation Labs initiative, funded by Comic Relief and Nominet Trust. Further support has been provided by The Creative Skills For Life initiative, funded by Creative England via the Government’s Regional Growth Fund, and managed by Creative England in collaboration with Creative Skills For Life and NHS England.

For more information on projects at FACT visit http://www.fact.co.uk/projects/