New Goal-setting App Promotes Help-seeking From Teen Perspective

An illustration of a blue robot on a blue background with the words Goalzie. Challenge. Do. Prove. and the logos of the Young and Well CRC and Australian Government. A white mobile phone has the Goalzie robot on its screen.

Innovative new research, in collaboration with young people and Western Sydney University, has taken 'Truth or Dare' to a whole new level for 2016.

Goalzie is a mobile game application designed to challenge young people to make positive changes in their lives, such as embarking on new exercise or diet programs, or unleashing their creativity by making videos for their friends. Just like truth or dare, users of the app will be set fun challenges for any unachieved goals.

Researcher Dr Phillipa Collin, from the Institute for Culture and Society, says the app was designed in collaboration with over 65 teenagers.

'Young people are often consulted by researchers and designers of online campaigns, but are rarely involved at all stages as peer researchers or co-creators,' says Dr Collin. 'In contrast, this project has worked with young people, in a range of settings, at all stages of research and design. This helped identify that promoting help-seeking can start before a young person has a "problem", and helped us understand how their social and digital practices could provide the basis for everyday goal-setting and help seeking practices.'

The Goalzie app was created by the Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre and the University of South Australia, in conjunction with Western Sydney University, Zuni and the Queensland University of Technology.

Challenges range from physical, such as a dance workout; self regulation such as going two days without Facebook; being creative by making a Vine video; and being healthier by giving up chocolate for a week.

Consequences include washing the family car, making One Direction your Facebook cover photo, and handing in homework two days early.

The CEO of the Young and Well CRC, Associate Professor Jane Burns, says research has found 75% of mental health difficulties occur before the age of 25.

'Unfortunately, 70% of girls and 80% of boys don't seek help for managing their mental health issues,' she says. 'Through apps like Goalzie we are trying to instil help-seeking behaviour using humour and gamification. I feel confident that Goalzie will break down stigma around asking for help.'

As an added bonus, Goalzie also includes access to The Toolbox – a resource developed by ReachOut.com and the Young and Well CRC to further help young people seek help through identifying goals. The Toolbox provides a collection of over 50 health and wellbeing tools and apps endorsed by professionals and reviewed by people under 25 years old.

The app was launched on Friday 5 February at Merrylands High School and included a Q&A session with researchers and the students who were involved in the development of the app.

The research insights will be available mid-year.

Posted: 8 February 2016.

Original post by Western Sydney University news (opens in a new window).

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