Sunday, October 04, 2015

An New App For The Mental Health Week Being Conducted By The ABC. Looks Pretty Well Thought Out.

This appeared earlier today.

Mental health app: MoodMission to deliver cognitive therapy on smartphones

Date October 4, 2015 - 12:15AM

Bianca Hall

Reporter for The Age

It seems like there's an app for everything these days – to help us sleep, to exercise better and even take care of our mental health.
Now, a Monash University project is aiming to bring cognitive behavioural therapy, a commonly used psychological treatment method, to users' smartphones.
David Bakker​, a doctor of psychology student, and his supervisor, Associate Professor Nikki Rickard, have been developing the app for the past 18 months.
The result is MoodMission​, which the researchers say could help people learn and use better ways of coping with low moods and anxious feelings.
While there are more than 3000 apps targeting mental health on the market, it's been estimated that fewer than 1 per cent of those have been tested for efficacy. Bakker and Rickard hope theirs will be among the first in the world to undergo randomised controlled testing to make sure it is effective.
Cognitive behavioural therapy is designed to help people change unhealthy or destructive habits and behaviours over time.
"MoodMission ​ works in a similar way by recommending useful, brief, easily achieved coping strategies to users to help them deal with negative thoughts, feelings, or behaviours," Bakker said.
The app uses the principles of games to engage its users. If people take part in good coping strategies, they will have "completed missions" and be rewarded by the app in an attempt to motivate them further.
Paradoxically enough, Bakker said, technology can often isolate people from support services. "Technology without social purpose can be correlated to negative mental health outcomes."
More commentary here:
I like the careful and considered scientific approach that is being taken with this app - although I do wonder how you conduct a randomized trial of an app. (Do you have ½ the customers with a non-working app and the other ½ with a working one? - surely the clients would know?)
Worth a look for those who are interested in looking for more considered e-mental health app for their friends or themselves.
The ABC web site for the week of discussion and interaction on Mental Health is found here:
Also worth a look for those interested.

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