The Kiss MyAsthma app features symptom and mood tracking as well as emergency support for young Australians with the serious life-long lung disease.
Source:
AAP
2 May - 4:12 PM  UPDATED 2 May - 9:32 PM

Just fitting in is important for any child but this can feel impossible for young people with asthma, with more than half saying it's affected their mental health.

To combat this, Asthma Australia is launching a new app to support young people manage their asthma and improve their quality of life.

In Australia, 11 per cent of young people, or one in nine, have the chronic lung disease - one of the highest rates in the world.

The National Young People and Asthma Survey conducted in 2014 found 63 per cent of 12-25 year-olds had poorly controlled asthma and 52 per cent were likely to experience mental health issues.

More than half said asthma limited their enjoyment of life - with 'feeling left out' one of the biggest concerns.

Another highly-ranked issue included self-consciousness, anxiety, difficulty coping with stress and poor body image.

Alicia Mitchell, 24, was in and out of hospital as a child because of her severe asthma and says the psychological and social impacts were "huge".

"You don't want to be different," Ms Mitchell told AAP.

"I missed a lot of school and I couldn't do what all the other kids did, especially physical exercise."

Wanting to help improve the mental health of other young asthmatics, Ms Mitchell was among a group of young people who were involved in the design of the Kiss MyAsthma app.

Associate Professor Loarraine Smith from the University of Sydney, who conducted research for the development of the app, says it's designed by young people, for young people.

"We were surprised to learn just how important social and psychological issues were to our young co-designers. They felt strong that the app should have supportive features to address these needs," Ass Prof Smith said.

Features of the app include symptom and mood tracking, an asthma attack tracker and emergency support.

It's a really good educational and functional tool that helps this vulnerable group of asthmatics get control of what is a complex and often life-threatening condition, says Michele Goldman, CEO of Asthma Australia.

"When asthma gets the better of you, you feel down and are less able to cope with some of the challenges that life throws at you.

"Managing it is by no means simple so how you do it is the next step.

"This app helps address the how by putting tools for managing asthma into young person's hands, from the first step of providing content to help them understand really simply what the disease is and how they should manage it, and then giving them the functionality to be able to do so," Ms Goldman said.