Development and Evaluation of a Depression and Anxiety App: MoodMission

The 2018 Australian Rural & Remote Mental Health Symposium will this year be held over 15-17 October at the Hotel Grand Chancellor, Hobart, Tasmania.

Joining us at the conference is Dr David Bakker, Founding Director, MoodMission & Monash University who will present on ‘Development and Evaluation of a Depression and Anxiety App: MoodMission’.

Dr David Bakker

Abstract

Introduction/Background:
Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and up to 65% of Australians with a mental health issue do not receive treatment. Lack of access to evidence-based treatments is even more pronounced in rural and remote settings. There is an abundance of evidence supporting the efficacy of computerised cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for common mental health issues, like depression and anxiety, but few studies have evaluated mobile applications (apps) that provide CBT strategies. We developed an app, MoodMission, that recommends short, tailored CBT strategies for low moods and anxious feelings.

Methods:
Participants downloaded the MoodMission app from the iOS and Android app stores, completed in-app baseline assessments, and final assessments 30 days later. Participants reported their mood to MoodMission when they were feeling low or anxious and received a list of five short CBT strategies to choose from and engage in. Data from 617 assessment completers were analysed via regression models. A randomised controlled trial (n=192) also compared MoodMission to two other mental health apps and a waitlist control.

Results:
App engagement predicted increases in mental wellbeing. There were also indirect effects of app engagement on depression, anxiety, and mental wellbeing via the mediator of coping self-efficacy for participants who were experiencing a moderate level of depression or anxiety. MoodMission was the only app in the RCT that reduced depression, and these participants also experienced improvements in mental wellbeing, emotional self-awareness, and coping self-efficacy.

Conclusion:
MoodMission can increase mental wellbeing, reduce depression, and can help individuals experiencing moderate levels of depression or anxiety by improving their confidence in their ability to cope. Mental health apps, like MoodMission, can overcome treatment barriers that notably effect individuals in rural and remote areas, such as stigma and geographic isolation.

Key Learnings:
1. Mobile apps can be used to prevent and manage mental health issues.
2. MoodMission is a new, free, evidence-based mental health app.
3. A combination of research methods are necessary for real-world evaluation of digital mental health interventions.

Biography

David Bakker recently completed a Doctor of Clinical Psychology at Monash University, where his research focused on the development and evaluation of two new mental health apps. He is the Founding Director of mental health app MoodMission and works clinically in private practice. Previously, he has worked in mental health outreach services in his home state of Tasmania, and he is passionate about evidence-based solutions for the prevention and treatment of common mental health issues.

For more information on the 2018 Australian Rural & Remote Mental Health Symposium and to secure early bird discounted rates currently on offer please visit anzmh.asn.au/rrmh