Not all apps are created equal and it can be hard for young people to know which ones to use, especially when it comes to health and wellbeing. ReachOut Australia, with support from the Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre (Young and Well CRC), has created The Toolbox – an online collection of more than 50 apps that have been rated and reviewed by mental health professionals and young people, providing recommendations that match the wellbeing goals of users aged 13 to 25.
The mental health and wellbeing tools and apps included in The Toolbox have been reviewed and rated by a panel of both mental health professionals and young people for their credibility, functionality, engagement, and aesthetics according to the Mobile Application Rating Scale, developed by the Queensland University of Technology and Young and Well CRC and used by organisations such as VicHealth.
A simple quiz allows users to work out their goals for improvement in areas relating to their emotional, psychological, social and physical wellbeing. Categories include health and fitness, being independent, relationships and helping others, thoughts and emotions, and dealing with tough times.
CEO of the Young and Well CRC, Associate Professor Jane Burns said: “The Toolbox puts effective apps at the fingertips of young people, providing a research-based platform to ensure easy access to the apps best suited to their specific needs. With one in four young people experiencing mental ill-health, and 75% of mental illnesses emerging before the age of 25, The Toolbox is an important resource to empower young people to easily maintain their own wellbeing.
“We know that 99% of young people are online daily, and need to harness this incredible opportunity to provide help when and where they need it, not just in times of crisis but as a preventative measure and effective form of early intervention,” A/Prof Burns said.
The Toolbox was designed using a participatory design approach led by ReachOut Australia. The process involved consultation with young people at the initiation of the project and during the design phase, as well as feedback on early prototypes.
CEO of ReachOut Australia, Jono Nicholas, said: “Working with young people to create The Toolbox means that young people themselves have helped design a user experience that meets their needs. When combined with the expert panel review process, the result is an engaging and effective suite of online tools that are now easily accessible to the 110,000 Australians who use ReachOut.com each month.”
The effectiveness of The Toolbox was evaluated in a research study undertaken by Flinders University, and it was further evaluated as part of the Young and Well CRC ‘Young and Well Towns’ project – a partnership with Flinders University, Country Health SA and ReachOut – aiming to increase the uptake of e-health resources amongst young people in rural areas of South Australia, including Burra, Murray Bridge, Mount Gambier and Mount Barker.
To access The Toolbox visit reachout.com/sites/thetoolbox.
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About ReachOut Australia
ReachOut is Australia’s leading online mental health organisation for young people, providing practical support to help them get through everything from everyday issues to tough times. Since 1998, ReachOut has worked alongside young people to deliver online tools that address youth mental health and reduce youth suicide. Available anytime and pretty much anywhere, ReachOut.com is accessed by 110,000 Australians each month. That’s more than 1.31 million people each year.
About the Young and Well CRC
The Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre is an Australia-based, international research centre that unites young people with researchers, practitioners, innovators and policy-makers from over 70 partner organisations. Together, we explore the role of technology in young people’s lives, and how it can be used to improve the mental health and wellbeing of young people aged 12 to 25. The Young and Well CRC is established under the Australian Government’s Cooperative Research Centres Program.
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