health appGPs across Coventry and Warwickshire have a new tool to help patients tackle anxiety, negative thinking and anger issues, thanks to the launch of a smartphone app.

The Don't Panic app has 6 different titles within it focused on helping people deal with panic attacks, social anxiety, stress, worry, negative thinking and anger. It was designed by Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust with the help of Coventry University Health Design & Technology Institute (HDTI).

Dr Dan Barnard, consultant clinical psychologist at Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust, recorded the apps at Warwickshire-based One Nation Studios and said they are a complimentary aid to cognitive behavioural therapy.

"Each app explains the theory for each subject in a non-jargon way and then presents coping strategies," said Dr Barnard. "We advise that it can be beneficial to write notes as well so that listeners gain the knowledge and skills they need.

"After seven days, we hope people will have learned the techniques so that when they are going about their day-to-day lives they can put the knowledge and skills into practice. 

"The apps are not designed to replace face-to-face therapy but as a complimentary aid since quality advice can be accessed immediately and they can be listened to discreetly whenever the listener wants."

Further reading: Pilot project brings easier access to CBT for people in Sutton and Merton

The apps are a follow-up to a series of self-help CDs that the Trust put together in 2010, which Dr Barnard said proved "really popular for patients" and was distributed to 6,000 people.

“We have sent an information sheet to GP practices throughout Coventry and Warwickshire that GPs print off for their patients as a prescription, and we advise people to listen to the apps at least once a day for a week," Dr Barnard added.

“At the end of each app, there is a short survey for people to complete to rate the recording, their understanding of the subject and whether they will be trying any of the coping strategies.”

Surgeries will also receive a flyer giving simple instructions on how to download Don’t Panic from the Apple Store, Google Play or BlackBerry World. In the next few months, the flyer will also be printed and distributed in public libraries.

Those who don’t have a smartphone can access the material from and