APPA Scotland

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.

Our Facebook


Finished the Northfield trial yesterday and re-engaged with Perth Academy. Today is Falkirk High School and on Monday we start trials in Oriel High School, Crawley. We’ll have enough results for a preliminary write up by Christmas. ... See MoreSee Less

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Final trials starting again in Northfield Academy. Full validation, here we come! ... See MoreSee Less

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Little 3D printed Alexes...really cute, especially the wee totty baby one ... See MoreSee Less

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At Liverpool Hope University working out the next development steps in our journey. ... See MoreSee Less

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Resilience is key in our day and age. We want our kids to be strong, to believe in themselves, to not shy away from the difficulties of life and be ready to face them with courage and confidence.

Check out this informative TED Talk by professor Sam Goldstein. "Resilience embraces the ability of a child to deal effectively with stress and pressure, to cope with every day challenges, to bounce back from disappointments, adversity and trauma, to develop clear and realistic goals, to solve problems, to relate comfortably with others and to treat one's self and others with respect. Scientific studies of children facing great adversity in their lives support the importance of a resilient mindset as a powerful force. Resilience explains why some children overcome overwhelming obstacles, sometimes clawing and scraping their way to successful adulthood, while others become victims of their early experiences in environments."

This is what we work for and this is what we believe in for our young people. This is #APPA!
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Our Twitter


@AlexMyAppa

- 2 days ago

RT @MJPButler: The Science Admin's entry into this years #DeckTheHalls @LiverpoolHopeUK, come and see our DIY Christmas decorations; plasti…
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@AlexMyAppa

- 14 days ago

RT @sajidjavid: So POTUS has endorsed the views of a vile, hate-filled racist organisation that hates me and people like me. He is wrong an…
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@AlexMyAppa

- 14 days ago

Looking for schools to help validate an app assessing pupil wellbeing. Message us if you’re interested in hearing m… https://t.co/qcdG6WjTPk
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@AlexMyAppa

- 14 days ago

RT @DickKingSmith: Porcupine eating a slice of banana of the day. https://t.co/dLuJ1IhjWu
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Have any questions?

Talk to us
Forbes Hamilton BSc MBA

Forbes Hamilton BSc MBA

Managing Director

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

Michael Ungar PhD

Resilience Advisor

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

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.