Sunday, April 14, 2024

Mental health apps at front of mind

The Government has announced its backing of two new digital tools available to people who experience mental distress.

The apps, designed to help users look after and prioritise their mental wellbeing, are free and available to download on most smart devices.

“This Government wants to ensure easy and readily available access to a range of wellbeing support when and where people need it – digital supports are one way to do that,” Health Minister Andrew Little said today. 

The first app, Groov (formerly Mentemia), co-founded by All Black legend Sir John Kirwan, aims to support people 19 years and older with day-to-day mental wellbeing, as well as at times of increased stress or distress.

Sir John Kirwan.

“Groov is about helping people become familiar with their own unique ‘groove’ and, through the platform, supporting them to manage and maintain their wellbeing,” Sir John said.

“Tools include personality quizzes to help people get to know themselves better; a breath-training tool to control stress; and a mood tracker to recognise patterns, triggers and identify opportunities for change – it’s exciting the availability of Groov has been extended and continues to be free to anyone who wants to use it.”

The second app, HABITs Messenger, is a chatbot platform co-designed with young people by Auckland University. Aimed at 12-to-18-year-olds, it supports brief interactive chat sessions designed to feel like you’re messaging a friend.

It features three support options: Aroha – stress support for COVID, Headstrong – a personal trainer for the mind, and Stress Detox – general stress support.

“We are creating more options to help people. These are supports that focus on prevention, early intervention and providing services for those with immediate needs,” Minister Little said.

“This Government did the right thing in making the biggest investment in mental wellbeing in our history to date, and has continued to deliver supports that are now making a difference to thousands of people across the country.”

The services were funded from the $1.9 billion Wellbeing Budget in response to He Ara Oranga – the Government Inquiry into Mental Health.

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