School of Health in Social Science

 Project Soothe

This project’s mission is to develop a bank of soothing images that can be utilised to improve mental health and wellbeing. Project Soothe is a unique and innovative project that combines world-leading research with public engagement.

Project Soothe is a global 'Citizen Science' project led by Dr Stella Chan and a team of Clinical and Developmental Psychologists based at the University of Edinburgh. Since its launch in 2015, the project has received over 800 soothing images from Citizen Scientists (aged 12+ years) in 29 countries. A total of 1000 Citizen Scientists (13-79 years, 77% female) from 45 countries evaluated these images online. The results showed that viewing 25 of these images significantly increased positive affect and decreased negative affect, irrespective of levels of depressive symptoms. These findings were also supported by 2000+ Citizen Scientists who visited Project Soothe’s exhibition at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh in 2017.

A swan in the water
Project Soothe Citizen Science Gallery Image Number 757

Since then, the project has collaborated with a range of local and national stakeholders who are piloting pioneering ways to use Project Soothe images in practice. We are currently co-producing a User Guide for organisations interested to use Project Soothe to enhance the wellbeing of and support for their service users. The team are currently working with 100 young Citizen Scientists across Scotland to develop wellbeing tools for children and young people using Project Soothe images. The team are also collaborating with partners in Belize, Ethiopia, India and Thailand to develop wellbeing tools with young Citizen Scientists in these Low and Middle-Income countries.


Project Soothe has been funded by a range of organisations including: The British Academy, Leverhume Trust, ESRC and the Wellcome Trust.

Stella has also received the British Psychological Society Public Engagement and Media Award 2017 for her creation of Project Soothe.  


Visit the Project Soothe website to find out more