Watch a demonstration of the app by clicking here.
Aims:
  • To develop and trial a structured mental health and substance misuse intervention using Indigenous specific content and imagery in a computerised (i.e. iPad application) format. This is to assist therapists to deliver a structured, evidence based, and culturally appropriate intervention to their Indigenous clients.  
Objectives:
Summary: 

Who developed it?

Menzies School of Health Research and Queensland University of Technology worked in collaboration, basing the app on the tools developed with Aborginal people for Aboriginal people as part of the Aboriginal and Islander Mental Health Initiative (AIMhi) program of research.

Who is it for?

The App is designed to focus on wellbeing and is for use with Indigenous clients by Aboriginal Health Workers, nurses, GPs, allied health professionals, community workers and others within clinical and community settings.

App screenshots:

 

  

What do you do?

The program contains a number of steps and aims to help clients improve their wellbeing. Individuals are asked to:

  • Identify friends and family who help keep them strong and healthy
  • Identify their strengths (e.g. factors related to culture, family or religion) in four areas of their life - represented visually as leaves on a tree. As they input more strengths, the leaves grow stronger and healthier
  • Identify things in their life that take away their strength in the same four areas (e.g. substance use, police involvement, health issues)
  • Identify a behavioural goal to work on
  • Develop a plan for achieving their goal by breaking it down into manageable steps.

The App gives a visual representation of the areas in the person’s life where they are strong and the areas in their life where they are not as strong and assists clients in their plans for making change. The process is assisted and supported by the health provider and the App provides help text and audio instructions to reduce the impact of low computer or English literacy. A summary of the Stay Strong Plan can then be emailed and printed to keep a record of the session for clients and health providers.

Our research has found: 

The original AIMhi Stay Strong Care Planning tools translated easily into electronic format, providing an engaging approach to addressing mental health, wellbeing and substance misuse issues for Indigenous clients. The electronic format is interactive and may help to overcome some of the barriers associated with a paper format in the context of low literacy and a history of institutionalisation. The developed intervention will assist services to deliver cost-effective, evidence-based holistic treatment.

How does the App complement practice?

While the AIMhi Stay Strong Care Plan is already being used by government and Indigenous organisations focused on treatment of mental health, alcohol and other drugs and, chronic disease, in youth, community and primary care services across Australia, the Stay Strong App provides an engaging, client-friendly format. The App may complement aspects of client assessment and treatment. As part of the eMental Health in Practice (eMHPrac) project, we are providing training and support for organisations interested in using the App.

Feedback

We would appreciate any feedback on how the App could be improved.

Chief investigators:
Contact information:
Collaborators:
  • Queensland University of Technology.
Acknowledgements:

Thanks to Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association (CAAMA) for producing the audio recordings.

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