Mental Health App Helps Track Moods
21 April 2016 at 10:14 am
An Australian team from Monash University has developed a new smartphone app to track users’ moods over time and support their mental health and wellbeing.
It’s thought that nearly one in every two Australians will experience a mental health condition at some time in their life.
The MoodPrism app, developed by Monash researchers with funding from mental health Not for Profit beyondblue, is designed to combat some of these issues.
The developers said mood tracking apps like MoodPrism aimed to prevent mental illness and decrease psychological distress.
Mental health and wellbeing apps are being used increasingly by people of all ages. Australian app Smiling Mind has received international acclaim for bringing mindfulness meditation to almost one million mobile phone users. It is now being used widely in schools and organisations around Australia.
The Monash team leader Adjunct Associate Professor Nikki Rickard said the app had created a contemporary means for users to engage with their feelings and emotions.
“The new mood tracking app functions like a modern day mood diary, which asks users how they are feeling on a day-to-day basis,” Professor Rickard said.
“After answering a few questions, the app converts and records responses into a colourful ‘mood history’. Users can explore their mood history at any time to gain insight into their emotional wellbeing and overall mental health.
“By using MoodPrism on an iPhone or Android device, users can monitor their mental health in any context, whether they’re at work, home, or on public transport.”
Rickard said MoodPrism delivered feedback to users about their own positive and negative mental health, and offers useful information and links to appropriate online mental health resources like beyondblue and Headspace.
She said the Monash research team would also examine anonymous data to uncover patterns of smartphone use that may lead to poorer mental health outcomes.
“Such patterns can be used to create effective mobile screening tools in future to help identify at-risk individuals easily and early,” Rickard said.
beyondblue CEO Georgie Harman said she was proud that beyondblue, with Monash University, has been able to apply technology to help everyone achieve their best possible mental health.
“It is important that all Australians, including people living with depression and anxiety, have the self-help tools and resources to assist them to protect their mental health and recover when they are unwell,” Harman said.
beyondblue provided funding of $62,500 to support the development of the MoodPrism app. The Not for Profit has also recently partnered with Monash University to develop and launch the BeyondNow app, which is designed to enable people at risk of suicide to have a safety plan on their phone.