Inspiring Mobile Apps for Youth Mental Health from Child Mind Institute Research Assistants
May 16th was the final presentation and judging for the Mobile App Development Competition from the Child Mind Institute’s MATTER Lab and Healthy Brain Network. The competition saw the development of new and helpful mobile apps for youth mental health. The presenters, all research assistants in the Healthy Brain Network, walked the assembled judges and onlookers through their creations which included a gratitude tracker; a tool for guiding intervention for selective mutism; an index of single-session mental health interventions; and an assessment and coping skills app for youth of the African diaspora.
All of the prototypes were “applets” built inside MindLogger, an innovative platform for data collection and intervention developed by Arno Klein, PhD, Director of Innovative Technologies and Joseph Healey Scholar, and his MATTER Lab team. The MindLogger app was first conceived as a way for researchers and clinicians to easily create and share assessments and interventions without the need for coding knowledge. It was quite touching and inspiring to see a new generation of scientists and clinicians take Dr. Klein’s idea and bend it in new and exciting directions.
“For me as a researcher it’s important for me to talk about my cultural background,” said Najé James, who was the contest winner for FAMALAY, which links culturally-specific anxiety assessments with curated music playlists and tips for coping.
My work is definitely a love letter to my culture and addresses the way black people are not represented in mental health.
Najé James, Mobile App Development Competition Winner
Najé remarked on the special feeling of being part of the ongoing development of MindLogger and the collaborative spirit it embodies. “As an RA we use MindLogger for data collection at HBN,” she said. “To be able to build my own app, that people like me can express themselves through MindLogger, is incredible.”
The Science team at the Child Mind Institute hopes this contest will be an annual occurrence and may one day be open to the public.