The Labs product evaluation explored two of the Labs products in more detail: In Hand and Doc Ready. This blog shares what we found out about people’s use and the impact of In Hand.
As well as looking at the analytics, we asked In Hand users to tell us more about what they thought of it and how it helped with their mental wellbeing. Initially we used a survey but then eight survey respondents thought there was more they could tell us, so we interviewed each one to understand more about their experience.
People Liked In Hand… A Lot
Those people who filled in the survey really liked In Hand.
- 91% agreed or strongly agreed that it was easy to use
- 84% said it was good enough to recommend to their family and friends
- 68% said it had partly (33%) or completely (35%) met their needs
- 65% said they would definitely use it again when they are not feeling good
- 32% would use it again as part of their daily routine.
Overall, In Hand users gave it an average of 7.27 out of 10.
But how and why did they actually use it?
Because of its app qualities!
Survey respondents and interviewees rated highly the app aspects of In Hand. Being able to using it anywhere, whatever they were doing was important (86%), as was using their mobile device to manage how they were feeling (79%) and it being private (78%).
Interviewees also highlighted the importance of the app being self-contained – they valued its anonymity, that it didn’t judge you, and that it didn’t involve either friends or professionals.
Because it assessed moods and feelings
Some people were using In Hand to monitor how they were feeling and increase awareness of their emotions. A few interviewees talked about how using In Hand was becoming a regular, and in some cases daily, activity. Some noticed that by doing a simple reflection, they could conclude that their mood was not as low as they initially assumed:
‘Sometimes, I’ll think I’m not doing very good and I’ll think I’m down and I won’t feel good. But then when you look at it and you have to choose how you are feeling, it makes you think “Oh, I’m not feeling that bad after all” and you can really assess how you are feeling’
‘…it really kind of gave me the power to think “how am I feeling” rather than everyone else, and make my own mind up about the day – how I’m going to cope, it gives you that’
To boost their mood
Other people described how they used In Hand as a tool for distraction and to boost their mood when feeling low.
‘I use the app in the morning, so if you are feeling better in the morning, your outlook on the day is a lot better on the whole. It’s a way to start the day… especially if the bus is crowded and I get anxious’
‘I use it frequently when I want to feel better fast. The main menu is what I use the most. Usually I like to lay music or call a friend when I’m having a bad day. It reminds me to do this.’
How much does it help mental wellbeing?
From survey respondents we can clearly conclude that In Hand does support their mental wellbeing. When we measured their responses across eight of their dimensions of mental wellbeing the majority of respondents who had used the app (108 of the 131 respondees) said that it helped them. Even more significantly the areas of mental wellbeing most affected by In Hand are those that relate directly to what the tool is intended to do.
What This Really Tells Us
Overall, a really positive picture of the value of In Hand is emerging.
People like using the app to support their mental wellbeing, it offers valuable help to most of them and we understand the different reasons people use it.
However, we also need to be cautious about drawing wider conclusions from the research. The number of people who completed the survey represents a tiny portion of the 6000 who had used the app by October 2014. So while we have a very clear picture in relation to those who filled in the survey, we cannot be sure that this represents all those who can or may use In Hand.
But it does give us lots of reasons to be positive about In Hand’s likely impact. The evidence suggests that it directly helps young people with their mental wellbeing. What we need to find out next is how much it helps and if it reduces deterioration in people’s symptoms or avoids the need for additional support or services.
Working with Louise, Ste, and Nicky and all the young people who developed In Hand has been really enjoyable, especially witnessing how much they have learnt about tech and mental health.
A big thank you to everyone who completed an In Hand survey, especially the eight people who gave 20 minutes of their time to chat about In Hand – it was such a big help.