November 16, 2017
Chat app used for mental health diagnosis
The health Research Council is funding a $620,000 study into whether the new electronic screening tool can increase the rate of mental health assessments in Maori youth.
Professor Felicity Goodyear-Smith, the academic head of the Department of General Practice & Primary Health Care at the University of Auckland, will look at whether the YouthCHAT app makes it easier to disclose sensitive information.
Suicide is a leading cause of death for New Zealand youth aged 15-24, while depression and anxiety affect one in four young people.
Maori males living in deprived areas have the highest rates of suicide and disproportionate rates of depressive symptoms.
Professor Goodyear-Smith says early detection and intervention is paramount, yet health professionals in general practice may not always have opportunities to discuss emotional or behavioural issues with youth.
There is emerging research that suggests youth may prefer to complete a self-assessment via an e-tool where they can disclose sensitive information without fear of being judged, structure their thoughts, and prioritise the issues for which they want help.
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