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LIVV: A smartphone app for young people who hear distressing voices



LIVV is a smartphone app that is designed to help young people who hear distressing voices understand and cope with their experiences.  

It is a collaboration between Hearing the Voice and Durham University’s Institute for Medical Humanities together with: 

  • Voice Collective – a London based organisation that supports young people who see, hear and sense things that others don’t 
  • Rai Waddingham – a voice-hearer, researcher, mental health trainer and Chair of the English Hearing Voices Network 
  • Dr Sarah Parry (Lancaster University) – a clinical psychologist and researcher specialising in children and young people’s mental health 
  • A dynamic group of young people who hear voices and who took part in our co-design process.  

The development of the app is funded by Durham University’s Economic and Social Research Council Impact Accelerator Awards, Research England and the Wellcome Trust

What does LIVV do? 

LIVV provides information about hearing voices and access to a moderated peer support forum. Users can also create their own coping strategy toolkit, based on tips and techniques that other young people who hear voices have found helpful.  

The current version of LIVV is a pilot app built by IC Mobile Lab. It is currently in Beta testing.   

How was it developed?

Back in 2019, Hearing the Voice launched Understanding Voices, a website for voice-hearers, family members and mental health professionals. The Living with Voices section – written by voice-hearers for voice-hearers – has always been a popular part of the site. We thought it might make a useful app for young people. 

After an initial period of consultation, we ran three co-design workshops with voice-hearers (aged 16–25) to find out what they would (and wouldn’t) want from an app. We developed a prototype based on some of their ideas and asked their opinion on what we created. We used this feedback to develop the pilot version of the LIVV app.  

We’re grateful to the young people who participated in our co-design and prototype testing process and would like to thank them for sharing their ideas and expertise with us so generously. 

What’s happening next? 

LIVV is still in its early stages and the pilot version is currently being evaluated. Feedback from this process will inform a second phase of development which will include enhanced functionality, graphic design and a full suite of multi-media resources made in collaboration with young people who hear voices.  

If you’d like more information about this project, please contact Ben Alderson-Day (PI) and Victoria Patton.