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Smartphone shows your mood: app for young people with psychological problems



Researcher Levi van Dam (University of Amsterdam) is participating in the development of G-Moji. "The app really asks: What does a young man do, what does he eat, at what time does he go to bed?" These are questions that a social worker also asks, says Van Dam. "But such an application does the reverse, information comes from the young people themselves."

Conversation is instantaneous

32 young people participated in the test with the application last year. Half of them had psychological problems. Of them, two tried to commit suicide. With them, the number of negative emojis was higher than with the others, and there were no happy faces to see before the attempt.

Researcher Van Dam thinks young people can be treated more effectively thanks to this application. "A conversation with a social worker is a snapshot. Through the application, you learn a lot more about the times when they feel good or bad."

A young man who experienced the application praises the accessible nature. "You can easily point out how you're doing." She thinks communication through an application is better. "I had to learn to express my emotions. In a conversation telling how things are going it's more confrontational. This is a good intermediate step."

Part of the solution

With the application, Van Dam wants to contribute in the first instance to reducing the number of out-of-home placements of young people. "This is very high in the Netherlands compared to other EU countries as long as they are not effective, but the impact is huge, also on the rest of the family."

He would rather make aid to youth superfluous through "radical innovations." "And I think this app can be part of the solution." The number of participants should be expanded in a subsequent test. For that, 500 young people between 16 and 24 years old are being sought. They should install the application and use it for a month. You can register here.


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