Mind Yourself! An App For Mental Health In Youthby Manisha Sachdeva on Jun 15, 2014 • 8:58 pm
In October, SpunOut, Facebook and CoderDojo teamed together to host a hackathon at Facebook’s European Headquarters in Dublin where over 40 young developers and designers from across Ireland teamed together to come up with an idea for a mental health app. The aim of the hackathon was to make an app for youth by youth.
In March, the National Office for Suicide Prevention in Ireland funded a weekend for the youth to get back together to develop the app alongside professional developers. The hosts of the event, Spunout.ie, is a not-for-profit website created by young people for young people that promotes general wellbeing and healthy living. It covers a range of topics including mental and physical health to employment and educational opportunities are targeted towards youth 16-25 in Ireland and Northern Ireland.
The idea “MiYo”, short for Mind Yourself, is a self-reflective journal app where users can log their daily activities related to their physical and mental wellbeing. Categories are broken into several domains including healthy eating, sleep, physical activity, socialization, learning and hobbies. The app was gamified so that when users log the completion of an activity, they are able to earn points and progress to their goals.The gamification is to incentivize youth to complete tasks and sustain a healthy lifestyle. If a user is having difficulty attaining a certain goal, the app will suggest content on SpunOut.ie to help them get on track to a healthy lifestyle routine.
This concept is not unlike many other apps that are developed by youth for youth. Medical students creating anatomy apps as part of term projects for example, or digital opportunities for youth employment are catching on quickly, as people are beginning to realize that going digital is the quickest way to harmonize personal goals with their daily lifestyles.
In April, the launch of Miyo took place in Dublin along with Spunout’s campaign entitled “Ditch the Monkey”, a five-part animation series that encourages people to let go of negative spiral thinking that could be holding them back from living a happy, healthy life or encouraging them to seek the help they need. The series was broadcasted across cinemas in Ireland in April. The app was also launched alongside SpunOut’s ‘Survival Guide to Life’, covering issues in mental health, exam stress, finding a job, sexual health, bullying and relationships.
Family physicians, counselors and social workers alike should familiarize themselves with the app and add it to their roster of resources for their young patients. It can be downloaded here.