MoodTune, a new mobile app dedicated to helping people with depression, PTSD, and other mental illnesses, is making strides helping people recognize and seek help. The app has been recognized by popular media such as The Week, Popular Science, and Indiegogo.
Studies have shown that teenagers are increasingly tethered to their phones, spending more time online, sleeping less, and feeling stressed out. Rather than tear them away from their phones, professors at Harvard and Dartmouth created the MoodTune App to help them recognize their symptoms.
“It’s the trend, that’s what goes for teenagers, and knowing most of them are in tune with their smartphones, it’s great,” said Dr. Madhavi Kamireddi, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at New England Center for Mental Health. “It won’t be any different than a clinician asking them to fill in a set of 20 questions. In my office they just check all the boxes and don’t think. Kids are resistant, so for them, an online service, they take it better.”
On the app screen, a personalized dashboard tracks a user’s response time, error rate, and responsiveness to games and compares it to an overall average. Another screen appears like a graph and tracks mood history and plots it out and compares it to other users.
MoodTune requires users to spend about 20 to 30 minutes a day completing these simple tasks and it uses cognitive-based therapy techniques to change how the brain responds. 20 to 30 minutes may be a larger chunk of time than many teens are willing to spend on cognitive therapy, but in my experience, though, an easily accessible app is more likely to procure a positive response in teens than, say, 20 to 30 minutes filling out a pen-and-paper survey.
While apps like MoodTune cannot replace traditional therapy, they can be a great resource for those suffering from mental illness. Click here to learn more.