Launch of App to Monitor Facebook Use of People Living With a Mental Illness

By Petrina Smith
Thursday, 26 June, 2014

social media for mental healthMental health experts are using social media to predict when a person living with a mental illness is likely to experience a relapse.
The world-first pilot study being launched today at the Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre (MAPrc) by beyondblue chairman, The Hon. Jeff Kennett AC will measure if a specialist application, or app, can adequately monitor the Facebook use of people living with bipolar disorder.
Mr Kennett said the application and study, developed by MAPrc and RMIT University were prime examples of how innovative approaches to mental health could improve lives.
“As more and more people connect via social media, it is vital that organisations such as beyondblue keep apace and develop ways to use it to engage people,” Mr Kennett said.
Deputy director of the Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre (MAPrc), Professor Paul Fitzgerald said social media has the potential to be a life-saving way to prevent relapse for patients with bipolar disorder, a substantial clinical problem.
“Bipolar disorder is unfortunately one of the largest risk factors for attempted suicide,” Prof Fitzgerald said. “The app looks for changes in social media interactions, such as postings, likes and friend requests.  It also prompts self-assessment by asking the profile owner to rate their mood each day.

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