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INESC TEC contributes to the development of an app that provides free psychological support during the pandemic

The social distancing and lockdown measures imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic had an impact on individual well-being, namely psychological well-being. In order to address the needs of those who are most vulnerable, INESC TEC’s High-Assurance Software laboratory joined OutSystems and the Psychology Association of the University of Minho (APsi-UMinho) and developed a new mobile application to provide free psychological support to all those who need it, particularly due to the Covid-19.

06th October 2020

Psicovida‘s goal is to support the national community by ensuring equitable and free access to psychological crisis intervention in the current pandemic context. It is a mobile application that allows users to speak directly with qualified psychologists, through video calls, while providing several self-help strategies.

The app is composed of specialised modules, according to the specific needs of users: stress and anxiety; loss and grief; the elderly and their families; pregnancy; career support; violence; dynamics management and family care. Communication through the platform is confidential and protects the users’ rights. This crisis intervention is brief and focused on immediate psychological stabilisation, but it does not replace a more thorough and regular psychological intervention, if that is the case.

“HASLab contributed to the definition of the app’s requirements, while supporting the project’s management”, said Jácome Costa, researcher at HASLab and lecturer at the IT Department of the University of Minho.

The psychologists collaborating in each of the modules are hired through a register of civil society psychologists, and their participation is voluntary and supportive. However, empirically supported psychological intervention requires the specialised training of psychologists collaborating on the app. In this sense, the professionals have free access to a set of training resources provided by APsi-UMinho, in addition to a set of crisis intervention guidelines, developed according to the best practices.

Psychologists can register here and users can download the app for iOS (iPhone/iPad) or for Android.

The INESC TEC researcher mentioned in this news piece is associated with UMinho.