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 average young person listens to music for up to 5 hours a day – amounts which increase during episodes of depression.
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 depression.
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 that provide real assistance.
The app is easy to use, can be accessed any time, anywhere, and promotes both self-management of mental health 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.
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 the 1 in 35 youths across Australia who experience the debilitating effects of a depressive disorder in daily life. It will also reduce the rates of premature death by suicide, currently the leading cause of death in young people in Australia.
What We Need
Moody Tunes is now available in the Google Play Store (opens in a new window) for Android devices. Funding is required to make the user interface more appealing to the target audience and to further develop the iOS version of the app.
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:
Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the ARC Centre of Excellence and University of Melbourne
Member of the editorial board at esteemed journal, Musicae Scientiae