S38: Choosing Mental Health Apps and Online Resources: How Do We Know If They Are Safe To Use?

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By September 11, 2019 No Comments

Authors: Heidi Sturk, Ruth Crowther

Year: 2019

Event: 2019 TheMHS Conference

Subject: Choosing Mental Health Apps and Online Resources: How Do We Know If They Are Safe To Use?

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers



Heidi Sturk is the Deputy Director of eMHPrac (e-Mental Health in Practice) at QUT. Heidi delivers national training and support on digital mental health resources to allied health practitioners, GPs and service providers working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

New mental health apps and online resources are being released regularly. However, how do we know whether these are evidence-based or safe to use? Many of us are keen to use or recommend technology for mental health and wellbeing but are unsure where to start and how to best use these resources.

The Australian Government has funded the E-Mental Health in Practice (eMHPrac) project to raise awareness of evidence-based digital mental health resources. The project provides free nationwide training and support to health practitioners about digital mental health and how to use these resources with clients. This training is in high demand and includes face-to-face workshops, awareness presentations and online webinars and modules. The project is led by Queensland University of Technology in collaboration with Black Dog Institute, Menzies School of Health Research and University Centre for Rural Health, University of Sydney.

Digital mental health resources can provide an easily accessible method of help for people who are not receiving face-to-face help or need support out of hours. There are also some excellent online programs that offer free practitioner support. Many of these resources are listed on Head to Health, a digital mental health gateway launched by the Government in October 2017. The gateway provides a quick and easy way for Australians to access many trusted online and phone based mental health services.

This workshop will outline how to find evidence-based mental health apps and online programs and resources. It will demonstrate some useful features of the Head to Health website and also outline how to assess and evaluate other apps and resources that you come across. The workshop will provide examples of apps and programs that focus on mental health issues and staying mentally well.

Learning Objectives
Learning Objective 1: Greater awareness and understanding of how to choose safe mental health apps and online resources Learning Objective 2: Mental health apps and online resources are an easily accessible method of help for mental health issues and can provide hope and empowerment for clients. References Orman, J., & O'Dea, B. (2018) e-Therapy in Primary Mental Health, AJGP, 47(4). Stoyanov, S., Hides, L., Kavanagh, D. J., Wilson, H. (2016). Development and validation of the user version of the Mobile Application Rating Scale (uMARS). JMIR Mhealth and Uhealth, 4(2):e72.

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