New mental health app helps track moods and promotes emotional self-awareness
A team from Monash University has developed a new smartphone app, MoodPrism, to track users' moods over time and support their mental health and well-being. The app is now available on both Android and Apple platforms and can be downloaded by anyone with a smartphone.
Nearly one in every two Australians will experience a mental health condition at some time in their life. Mood tracking apps like MoodPrism aim to prevent mental illness and decrease psychological distress. The app, developed by Monash researchers with beyondblue funding, is designed to combat some of these issues.
Mental health and well-being apps are being used increasingly by people of all ages and mental health needs. Australian app Smiling Mind has received international acclaim for bringing mindfulness meditation to almost one million mobile phones. It is now being used widely in schools and organisations around Australia.
The Monash team, led by Adjunct Associate Professor Nikki Rickard, has 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. 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 well-being 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. MoodPrism delivers 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.
The Monash research team will 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.
beyondblue CEO Georgie Harman said she is 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. I congratulate Nikki Rickard and her team for developing MoodPrism, an app that empowers people to monitor and look after their mental health," she said.
beyondblue provided funding of $62,500 to support the development of the MoodPrism app.beyondblue 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.
While MoodPrism has direct benefits for individual users, the app can be also utilised in group settings.
The MoodPrism team provides mental health feedback services for companies, clubs, and schools interested in supporting the well-being of their employees or students. The non-identifying data collected by MoodPrism can inform organisations and schools about the well-being of their employees and students so proactive things can be done to improve mental health.