From the very first song that was ever sung around a caveman fire, music has inspired, calmed, motivated or moved us. It can influence our mood quicker than sunshine breaking through cloud, or rain spoiling a picnic.
Which explains why a new smartphone app has been recently launched for youth mental health. MoodyTunes was developed by Western Sydney University as a tool for young people to better understand and manage their moods and well-being.
“The average young person listens to music for up to five hours a day, even more during bouts of depression or challenging periods,” said Dr Sandra Garrido from the University’s MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development.
“Our app builds on this natural attraction to music and capitalises on the strategies that young people are already drawn to when feeling down, like listening to music, to promote help-seeking behaviour in a subtle and sensitive way.”
Research suggests that while the numbers of young people with depression are rising, particularly after the Covid-19 pandemic, only 1 out of 10 of them are getting any professional help. The hope is that this app will encourage young people to manage their own needs and go some way towards helping their mental health.
The interactive MoodyTunes app works by prompting users who are listening to music on Spotify to record the effect that music has on their moods, in turn, creating playlists of the music they love which best supports their wellbeing.
Preliminary research and testing of MoodyTunes has found that young people like the concept and believe it could help them learn more about their own mental health and effective mood management.
The app was officially launched this week by The Hon Bronwyn Taylor, NSW Minister for Mental Health, Regional Health and Women; and Catherine Lourey, NSW Mental Health Commissioner, at Western Sydney University’s newly opened Westmead Innovation Quarter.
It was also developed in collaboration with The Black Dog Institute and the Children and Young People unit of the Mental Health Branch of the NSW Ministry of Health, together with many young people and students.
MoodyTunes is available now and free to download from the Apple App Store for Apple devices, and Google Play Store for Android devices.
The interactive app is available to download on the Apple store and Google Play for android users.
Lifeline 13 11 14
Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 (for people aged 5 to 25)
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