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‘Mobile therapist’ app to offer support for depression in trial

Australian researchers have developed a smartphone app to be used as a personalised mobile therapist among people at risk of chronic and debilitating forms of depression.

BlueWatch, developed by Deakin University psychology experts, has been designed to build resilience and positive feelings in people before their depressed moods turn into more serious mental illness.

Dr Linda Hartley-Clark, associate research fellow with Deakin’s School of Psychology, said using the app is like having a personalised mobile therapist on hand 24/7.

The team is calling on people 18 to 25 years old to evaluate the app before it is released later this year. Over 12 weeks, users will be guided through six modules that cover education and techniques to reduce symptoms of depression, such as addressing negative thoughts, breathing exercises to reduce stress and other coping strategies.

“It will also monitor their mood at set times during the day and immediately prompt them to specific modules based on these scores," Hartley-Clark said. "In this way, the program offers tailored advice about when it is most appropriate to utilise the treatment resources to maximise reduction in symptoms.”

“We know that early detection and treatment of depressive symptoms increases the speed of recovery and prevents the development of more chronic and debilitating forms of depression and related health conditions,” she said.


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