iBobbly is a social and emotional wellbeing self-help app for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples aged 15 years and over. It also aims to prevent suicidal ideation in young First Nations Australians by providing emotional and mental health support.
Importantly, everything that is seen, heard and experienced in the app is shaped by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members to ensure that iBobbly is culturally informed and safe.
What services do iBobbly offer?
The iBobbly application has four main features:
- How do I feel – walks you through a self-assessment and gives you feedback about how you are going. Allows you to keep a mood diary to see how you are tracking.
- Stuff I can use – teaches you how to manage your thoughts and feelings, including any suicidal thoughts. This section also helps you to identify the characteristics you want to stand for and encourages you to set realistic, positive goals.
- How I’m gonna beat this – helps you create your own personalised action plan and gives you the tools to monitor your progress.
- Help – provides you with help and support options.
What are the benefits of using iBobbly?
It has been proven using iBobbly for only six weeks can reduce depression, distress, and suicidal thinking. These results were published in the British Medical Journal and can be accessed here.
Broader benefits of people using a social and emotional wellbeing app include:
- Improved mood
- Techniques and coping skills to address emotions
- Improved mental wellbeing
- Extra support
Who is iBobbly for?
iBobbly is specifically designed for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who:
- are aged 15 years and older
- are feeling sad and down
- might be having thoughts of hurting yourself.
- have access to a Smart phone or Tablet/iPad and data for downloading.
Is iBobbly information confidential?
iBobbly is completely private and confidential. It helps by showing you ways to manage your thoughts and feelings, as well as how to decide what is important in your life.
Is there a cost to use iBobbly?
iBobbly is completely free to download and there is no cost to using the application or any resources through the application.
How to access iBobbly
To be able to register you must fill in your first name, year of birth, email address or mobile number, and postcode (so a list of local health services can be provided). Users also have the option to provide the details of a close support person.
Practitioners may register to use the program if they wish to get access to iBobbly’s helpful resources and information.
When can iBobbly be accessed?
As iBobbly is a mobile application, this means people can access it anytime and anywhere that best suits them. The application has no set program limits or time constraints, so individuals can use iBobbly as little or as much as they like.
Who runs iBobbly?
iBobbly was developed by the Black Dog Institute alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members.
iBobbly Research and Evaluation
Using iBobbly for just six weeks has been shown to reduce depression, distress and suicidal thinking.
iBobbly was first tested in a randomised controlled trial involving 61 Aboriginal people from the Kimberley, WA. Users reported significantly lower levels of depression and psychological distress. iBobbly was well received by people who tried it and feedback from users was positive.
The full results of the trial were published in the British Medical Journal (Open) in March 2017 and can be accessed here.
A second, large-scale trial concluded in August 2019 and involved six locations around Australia and over 400 participants. Preliminary results are positive and expected for release in early 2020.
iBobbly’s design and development
Most of the artwork within the iBobbly app was designed by local artists in Broome, Ms Martha Lee, Ms Danica Manado (pictured below) and Ms Esah Coffin created new imagery to represent different ideas within the app.
The language used in the app was chosen in consultation with the young people in Broome, and other suggestions on the type of language that young people would respond to were incorporated into the app. In addition, most of the local voiceover talent was recorded by Goolarri Media in Broome for the first trial. There are two versions of the app, one featuring a young male voice, and the other a young female voice, who guide users through the activities of the app.