Beating the Blues
Beating the Blues is a web-based program for mood and anxiety disorders that uses the principles of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). It was created for the National Health Services in the United Kingdom.
Operation Reach Out is aimed at preventing suicide among military personnel and veterans. This app has two components, which can be accessed via the two options on the homepage; “I’m concerned about myself”, or “I’m concerned about someone else”. Each section has a number of short (10-30 second) videos of military personnel speaking about suicide. The difference between the two components is that videos in the “I’m concerned about myself” section are aimed directly at the user, whereas videos in the “I’m concerned about someone else” section advise friends, family members or colleagues on how to help someone in need. In the ‘Help Center’ section of the app, users can fill in the names and numbers of people they should reach out to in a crisis. The “Resources” section has a list of websites users can refer to, e.g. Suicide Prevention Lifeline, Centers of Disease Control, Military Family. The “Activities” section suggests activities that users can do with other people, e.g. “Join an online dating service”, “Get involved in your local block or neighborhood association”. Users can rate each activity by giving a thumbs up or thumbs down; those that are given a thumbs down will not appear again. Users are encouraged to do one activity every day.
Available for: Requires iOS 9.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Android 4.0.3 and up
Developer: The Guidance Group Inc.
Type of Treatment: Psychoeducation & Information
Targeted Conditions: Mood Disorders
Target Audience: Adults, Military Personnel
Designed to be used in conjunction with a professional? No
Languages Available: English
Get it on: Apple App Store, Google Play
While this app is not backed by efficacy data, it does contain one of the evidence-based strategies for suicide-prevention apps as identified by Larsen et al.’s (2016); facilitating access to crisis support. Operation Reach Out also has a resource location features, highlighted by Luxton, June, and Chalker (2015) in their review of principal features of suicide prevention apps, i.e. assistance locating resources such as crisis support centers, medical facilities, or groups or individuals (e.g., peers, family members) who could assist and provide support.
We review apps against rating criteria developed by experts in the field. Some of those criteria are:
We look at the research supporting the technology and the credibility of the development process.
We review privacy policies to see if key pieces of information about what happens with entered data are addressed.
We explore how fun, functional, easy-to-use, engaging, and interesting the technology is.
A professional in a relevant field downloads and uses the technology and writes a narrative review, highlighting pros & cons and some recommendations for use.