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NZ Mood diary app personalises mental health recovery

NZ Mood diary app personalises mental health recovery

A break-through mobile app puts mental health recovery in the hands of users – literally.

The Phobic Trust mood diary mobile app, just launched into the Apple App Store, enables users to record anxiety and stress levels, mood triggers, sleep and exercise patterns, as well as set clinical appointment and medication alerts.

The app is free to download and was developed by the Phobic Trust in partnership with mobile health experts VADR, facilitated in part by a grant from the government’s Social Media Innovations Fund, which is part of the Prime Minister’s Youth Mental Health Project, and funding from First Sovereign Trust Limited.

One in five New Zealanders will experience a mental health issue in their lifetime and will therefore need support to manage it, says The Phobic Trust of New Zealand Deputy CEO Vivienne Euini.

“The mood diary empowers users in a discreet way to easily record triggers, mood peaks and troughs, and gives them quick access to key phone numbers in an emergency, clinical appointments and the ability to set reminders for scheduled medication, cognitive behavioral exercises or physical exercise,” she says.

“Exercise reminders are a key component of the app, as evidence suggests a strong link between increased mental wellbeing for people who exercise.”

Vivienne says that by recording valuable information daily, people give the health professionals involved in their care access to the most accurate, collated statistics about their mental state.

“Professionals get the best possible overview of a client’s wellbeing and can use it to tailor specific treatment to meet the changing phases of their mental health recovery.”

She adds that quick access by phone within the app to a 24-hour support line relieves the burden of stress for people already experiencing extreme levels of anxiety.

The Social Media Innovations Fund supports the development of projects that use social media technology to improve youth mental health. VADR and The Phobic Trust were grateful recipients of the fund in February this year as part of the Prime Minister’s Youth Mental Health Project.

The app offers an innovative Kiwi approach because it stimulates self-discovery and intimately engages users with their own treatment process and recovery, says Vivienne.

“The mood diary app provides a quick, easy way for Kiwis to monitor and manage their mental health on a daily basis. Users gain an intimate knowledge of their own mood patterns over time and can record levels of exercise and sleep, all of which paints a clear picture for them and the people in their treatment team,” she says.

“The easy sign-in through Facebook makes the app extremely relevant and familiar to youth, who are the focus of the Social Media Innovations Fund”. The app is built upon VADR’s mHealth 360 platform which also powers the hugely popular Asthma NZ iPhone app.

Vivienne says the mood diary app is a fresh and cost effective approach to tackling the daily issues of anxiety, depression and stress. She adds that in an increasingly paperless world, paper mood charts that don’t have the added value needed today, such as collating data, will slowly become a thing of the past.

MHealth provides users and health professionals the most personal, persuasive and pervasive health tools available today.

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