Moody Tunes: A Smartphone App for Mental Health

An app (available through Google Play store for Android devices), created by Dr Sandra Garrido, engages young people through the music they love, drawing on evidence-based psychological therapies to provide real assistance. Depression rates are high in low socio-demographic areas such as Western Sydney and the app is a valuable tool for the 1 in 35 youths who experience the adverse effects of depression.

“The music they love in an evidence-based tool”

Suicide is the leading cause of death in 18-24 year olds in Australia. However, 90% of young people with depression do not get professional help.

Currently available mental health apps are largely based on educational models which research shows are not attracting young people who are not already receiving professional help.

It is vital that we develop more appealing ways to engage young people in learning about mental health.


The Solution

The average young person listens to music for up to 5 hours a day – amounts which increase during episodes of psychological distress.

Co-developed with young people and more than 10 years of research, the ‘Moody Tunes’ smartphone app uses music to help young people understand and manage their moods.

Moody Tunes Logo

The Moody Tunes app is different to existing solutions because it engages young people through the music they love but draws on evidence-based psychological therapies for self-management of mood.

The app is easy to use, can be accessed any time, anywhere, and promotes both mental health literacy and use of professional mental health services when needed.

While primarily developed for young people, data shows that the app is also highly appealing to older people, making it scalable to multiple settings such as workplace mental health.

The Impact

Depression rates are high in low socio-demographic areas such as Western Sydney. However, the universal appeal of music makes the app a valuable tool for increasing mental health literacy, increasing uptake of professional mental health services and improving young people’s capacities for self-management of mood.

What We Need

Moody Tunes is now available in the Google Play Store (opens in new window)Opens in a new window for Android devices and the App Store for Apple devices. Funding is needed to help us conduct clinical trials and get MoodyTunes into the hands of young people who need it.

Meet Dr Sandra Garrido

Dr Sandra Garrido

Dr. Sandra Garrido is an NHMRC-ARC dementia research fellow and deputy director of research at the MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development at Western Sydney University. She has published more than 70 academic publications, including a monograph entitled Why Are We Attracted to Sad Music? (2017).

Research Interests: Dementia, Depression, Music perception and cognition, Arts and mental Health

Qualifications and Recognition:

  • Ph.D. (UNSW)
  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the ARC Centre of Excellence and University of Melbourne
  • Member of the editorial board at esteemed journal, Musicae Scientiae

Publications: For a complete list of publications, click here (opens in a new window)

Contact Sandra:
Phone: +61 2 9772 6279

View Extended Profile (opens in a new window)

Related Research Articles and Media

Contact Information

Office of Advancement
+61 2 9685 9511