Assessing resilience digitally
Who we are
Our passion is to build resilience in children and young adults. Our driving ambition remains taking “one small step towards a resilient generation”. Children’s lives today present ever-changing mental health challenges that prevent them from fulfilling their potential (e.g. the capability of young people to cope in troubled times and to thrive despite adversity). Today’s challenges range from poverty, cyber bullying, and exam stress, to issues such as grooming, sexual predators, exposure to violence, substance abuse, and a host of mental disorders including anxiety and depression.
APPA replaces a standard questionnaire with a “conversation” over time (typically one month) to assess the resilience of young adults. Many of them are reluctant to talk with a teacher, parent or mental health professional and tell us they prefer to engage online with an animated avatar. Hence we created “Alex”!
This interactive app asks a series of evidence-informed questions known to be related to children’s resilience across many different cultures and contexts. Building on the work of Dr. Michael Ungar, one of the world’s leading authorities on children’s resilience, Alex assesses a child’s resilience in an engaging way, then offers strategies he or she can use immediately. If the child’s problems are too complex for Alex to handle, or Alex assesses a child as being at above average risk, the child is directed to seek help from a parent/guardian, teacher or mental health professional (psychologist, school counsellor, therapist, etc.). The more questions the child answers, the better APPA will know the child and the better APPA can tailor suggestions fro how to build the child’s resilience.
Forbes Hamilton BSc MBA
Forbes Hamilton has a Degree in Biochemistry and an MBA, is an entrepreneur with a highly successful background in Sales setting up and selling companies. Forbes’ entrepreneurial spirit led him to the theme of children’s resilience and is passionate about making a real difference to the lives of children as they move into adulthood. He started Appa Scotland and, in March 2016, Scottish Enterprise awarded a “Smart” grant to develop an app to assess children’s resilience. The app, APPA, has been very well received by schools so far.
Michael Ungar PhD
Dr. Ungar is one of the world’s leading authorities on resilience among children, youth and families and how they survive adversity in culturally diverse ways. His work has changed the way resilience is understood, shifting the focus from individual traits to the interactions between people and their families, schools, workplaces, and communities He also co-directs the Resilience Research Centre (RRC) based at Dalhousie University (Halifax, Nova Scotia).
Apart from over 100 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters and 11 books to his name, he has made over 350 presentations to mental health professionals, parents and policymakers across the world. His blog, “Nurturing Resilience,” is featured on the website of Psychology Today.
Joshua Brisson BSc MSc
Director of Sales and Marketing (North America)
Joshua Brisson has a Degree and Masters in Sociology and works with Dr. Ungar as the Research and Evaluation Manager at the Resilience Research Centre, Dalhousie University. His expertise lies in qualitative and quantitative research and evaluation methodology, and the use of mixed methods with vulnerable populations, children and youth in particular.
Joshua brings a wealth of experience to the team through managing a diverse portfolio of local, national and international research and evaluation projects.