Phone App to Keep your Mental Health in Check
Article by George Norman
On 26 Mar 2009
Smartphones can do a lot of things, especially if you single out Apple’s iPhone and the incredibly long list of apps available for the device (even though studies show you rarely use them). When it comes to your mental health, we thought that we got the whole thing in check with apps such as Mediate Now 2, Massager, Cocktails Made Easy, and last but not least PMS Buddy. While these apps do a pretty good job of keeping you relaxed, stress-free and out of a stressful situation (quarrels with your significant other), they do not specifically target your mental health.

The Murdoch Institute’s Centre for Adolescent Health, sponsored by Australian carrier Telstra, is rolling out a new study project that will use a mobile phone app called “mobiletype” so as to determine a person’s mental health state. The goal is to accurately diagnose and treat troubled youth by getting them to answer a whole bunch of questions delivered by the app; questions regarding their sleeping patterns, lifestyle, mood, substance abuse, and so on.

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At the current moment in time the app is being tested on a total of 200 people and if it proves to be an efficient tool it may be issued throughout the whole of Australia. The Telstra Foundation has provided a $285,000 Social Innovation Grant that will allow the app to be tested over a period of 2 years.

Here is what Telstra Foundation Chairman, Herb Elliott AC, MBE had to say on the “mobiletype" research, which is lead by Dr. Sophie Reid: “The work that Dr Sophie Reid and her team are doing at MCRI [Murdoch Childrens Research Institute] pushes the boundaries in mental health treatment. Mobiletype will use technology to help unravel some of the confusion around youth depression and help doctors get the information they need to treat their patients in the best way possible.”

According to Dr. Sophie Reid, up to 30% of teenagers will suffer from a form or another of depression and approximately 50% of all mental disorders begin at this early age. Since most people do not get the necessary treatment when it is most necessary and wait from 6 to 23 years to seek help, an effective means of assessing one’s mental health had to be developed.



Tags: Apple, iPhone, Smartphone, App, mobiletype, Mental Health
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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