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Journal article

Opinions and perceptions of Indigenous mental health applications from service providers and youth samples: a pilot study

Aboriginal Australian youth Indigenous mental health Indigenous health Mental health

To evaluate opinions and perceptions around managing mental health and the relevance of available mental health applications (apps) for Indigenous youth populations by surveying values of Indigenous service providers and youth samples in a regional area, in order to better target online mental health information.

Participants were 15 Indigenous youths (6 males, 9 females), and 30 Indigenous service providers (6 males, 24 females) with a mean age. Participants were recruited through a Queensland regional Indigenous community organisation, and given a face-to-face survey, (developed with Indigenous community members) during a social event. The survey asked how participants improve their mental health, their knowledge of current Indigenous mental health applications, and their perceived importance of values presented in those applications.

Although Indigenous youth were not familiar with existing mental health apps, overall, participants agreed with the values presented in available mental health apps. Compared to Indigenous youth, service providers overall perceived presented values as significantly more important, and specifically found ‘Nature in the design’, ‘Themes of strength’, and ‘Themes of community’ to be most important. Regarding content, service providers and youth had different strategies for bolstering mental health with Indigenous sports stars the least popular in both groups. There were no statistical gender differences in thematic importance for bolstering mental health.

Mental health applications are little utilised by Indigenous youth so awareness needs to increase. In addition, these are viewed differently between service providers and youth. This may have relevance for uptake and usage of these apps within the mental health service delivery.

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