Student developing smartphone app to prevent and treat anxiety and depression

September 18, 2015, Monash University
Student developing smartphone app to prevent and treat anxiety and depression

Monash University Doctor of Psychology student, David Bakker, is developing a smartphone app, MoodMission, which uses an intuitive and engaging interface to help users learn better ways of coping with low moods and anxious feelings.

Mental health and well-being apps are being used ever widely with users of all ages and needs. Melbourne-based app Smiling Mind has received international acclaim for bringing mindfulness meditation to over 300,000 users' phones. It is now being used widely in schools and organisations around the country.

David, and supervisor Associate Professor Nikki Rickard, have been working on MoodMission for the past 18 months. The project is now seeking support from investors through crowdfunding site Pozible, to start coding the software with help from Spark Digital – the same app development firm behind Smiling Mind.

David and Nikki are part of a team that has developed another mental health app, MoodPrism, which is due for release on the in the coming months.

MoodMission is designed to be used by anyone, whether they have a clinically significant anxiety or mood disorder, or just want to find ways of coping with day-to-day feelings of anxiousness or low moods.

MoodMission is based on (CBT), as CBT shows the strongest evidence as an effective computerised treatment for anxiety and depression. Users report their low moods or anxious symptoms to MoodMission, which then recommends five useful, brief, easily achieved coping strategies to help them deal with negative thoughts, feelings, or behaviours. These could be relaxation strategies, cognitive reframing exercises, physical activities, or anything else that evidence shows can lift moods or reduce anxiety.

Users choose one of these "missions", and when they have completed it MoodMission rewards them with points, badges, and other achievement acknowledgments. These rewards can promote positive psychological health through boosting self-esteem and feelings of mastery. To correspond to CBT practices, users also report how they feel after they have completed the mission. This enables MoodMission to suggest missions in the future that have had more past success. Psychoeducation is also employed throughout the app.

MoodMission will be experimentally validated via randomised controlled trialling to ensure that it is effective. No other mental health and well-being apps currently available on the app store have been validated by randomised controlled trialling. The will be free to download when released, scheduled for next year.

Explore further: App helps patients with depression, psychiatrists manage mood, activity levels

More information: For more information about the project visit: www.moodmissionapp.com or www.pozible.com/moodmission

Related Stories

App helps patients with depression, psychiatrists manage mood, activity levels

August 11, 2015
Approximately 16 million American adults are affected by depression. However, many patients see a psychiatrist only once every two to three months. Recognizing that patients often forget how their moods vary between visits, ...

Pocket-sized psychologist only an app away

August 24, 2015
A new smartphone app is putting a psychologist in the pocket of anyone needing on the spot advice.

Depressed? Apps lift mood with personalized therapy

April 8, 2015
Feeling blue or anxious? Now, there's a mobile 'therapist' designed to understand you and suggest the ideal mini-app to lift your particular mood.

Telephone-based cognitive behavioral therapy for anxiety in rural older adults

August 5, 2015
Telephone-based cognitive behavioral therapy was better at reducing worry, generalized anxiety disorder symptoms and depressive symptoms in older adults who live in rural areas, where access to mental health treatment may ...

'Mood Mate'—free app available to help people with depression

October 12, 2012
Psychologists at the University of Reading have launched a free iPhone app to help people with depression get direct access to help - without needing to go to their GP.

Recommended for you

Psychiatric disorders share an underlying genetic basis

June 21, 2018
Psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder often run in families. In a new international collaboration, researchers explored the genetic connections between these and other disorders of the brain at ...

One year of school comes with an IQ bump, meta-analysis shows

June 21, 2018
A year of schooling leaves students with new knowledge, and it also equates with a small but noticeable increase to students' IQ, according to a systematic meta-analysis published in Psychological Science, a journal of the ...

Ketamine acts fast to treat depression and its effects last—but how?

June 21, 2018
In contrast to most antidepressant medications, which can take several weeks to reduce depressive symptoms, ketamine—a commonly used veterinary anesthetic—can lift a person out of a deep depression within minutes of its ...

New study debunks Dale Carnegie advice to 'put yourself in their shoes'

June 21, 2018
Putting yourself in someone else's shoes and relying on intuition or "gut instinct" isn't an accurate way to determine what they're thinking or feeling," say researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU), the ...

Mindful movement may help lower stress, anxiety

June 21, 2018
Taking a walk may be a good opportunity to mentally review your to-do list, but using the time to instead be more mindful of your breathing and surroundings may help boost your wellbeing, according to researchers.

Brain tingles—first study of its kind reveals physiological benefits of ASMR

June 21, 2018
Autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) – the relaxing 'brain tingles' experienced by some people in response to specific triggers, such as whispering, tapping and slow hand movements – may have benefits for both ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.