happy place appPsychologists from the University of Bristol have teamed up with the Mental Health Foundation to launch a new mobile app to help people combat low mood on the go.

The app, called HappyPlace, is based on a pioneering new research technique, which is proven to help people train their brain to see positive emotions in faces. This approach helps people to modify the cognitive processes that play an important role in mental health.

Marcus Munafò, professor of biological psychology at the University of Bristol, explained: "Depression and low mood make people see the world and interpret social situations differently. When someone is feeling down, negative thoughts come to their mind, and they may assume that someone else is feeling unhappy. These ‘negative biases’ can reinforce feelings of depression by making the world seem a less happy environment.

"Recent research shows that this training encourages positive biases and we hope that our app proves useful for people wanting to better manage their low mood."

Therapies need to be accessible
The app also incorporates established mood monitoring techniques – questionnaires and a diary function – to help people manage their mood, as well as the ability to link events in people’s life to changes in their mood.

The launch of HappyPlace comes at an important time with depression, stress and anxiety issues on the increase and now affecting an estimated 2.5 million people in the UK.

Jenny Edwards, CEO of the Mental Health Foundation, added: "Therapies to help support people’s mental health and wellbeing need to be accessible and available to everyone.

"The Mental Health Foundation champions new evidence-based, practical approaches like this that help people live mentally healthier lives. This new app can put positive mood management in the palm of everyone’s hand."

Go to https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/happyplace-mood-manager/id615240573 to download the app for £1.49, with 10% of all proceeds going to the Mental Health Foundation