iBobbly suicide prevention app
Can an app, designed with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, reduce suicidal thinking, depression, and psychological distress amongst young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people?
Young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are at greatly increased risk of suicide, and are also less likely to seek help for their distress.
We think an app can help to overcome barriers to seeking help, such as shame, stigma, cost, travel, and service availability. Feedback from our first pilot study suggests that this is the case. We have worked with communities to design the app so that it meets their needs.
History of the project
A small pilot study of an earlier version of the app was conducted in the Kimberley, WA, over 2014-15. The results were promising, with significant reductions in depression and psychological distress for those using the app compared to a wait listed control group.
We used feedback from users of the app and from broader consultations to make some changes, and we are now testing it in other communities with a larger group.
We are recruiting participants from six communities across New South Wales, Western Australia, the Northern Territory, and Queensland.
Participants in this trial will be assigned to either use the app immediately for a period of 6 weeks, or will continue with treatment as usual and be on a 6 month wait list to use the app. This design will allow us to see if any benefits from using the app are still there after 6 months.
In this trial, we are also measuring changes in help-seeking and health service use.
Published paper: Tighe, J. et al, 'ibobbly mobile health intervention for suicide prevention in Australian Indigenous youth: a pilot randomised controlled trial', BMJ Open
Video: iBobbly App Trial: Background and Results
NHMRC Project Grant