App Reviews /

Virtual Hope Box Review

Virtual Hope Box Screenshots
Credibility

Credibility

4.00 / 5.00

Overall Score: 12/15

Consumer Ratings: 1/2
Proposed Goal: 2/2
Evidence Based Content: 1/1
Software Updates: 0/2
Clinical Input in Development: 1/1
Research on Development Process: 1/1
Efficacy of Other Products: 1/1
Research Independence and Review: 2/2
Research Base: 3/3

Rating Date: August 2020

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User Experince

User Experience

3.59 / 5.00

Engagement: 3.80 Functionality: 3.38 Aesthetics: 2.83 Information: 4.33 Subjective quality score: 3.25 Perceived impact score: 3.33 Rating date: November 2017 Rated by: Queensland University

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Transparency

Transparency

Acceptable

Overall Score: Acceptable

Does the app have a privacy policy?:Yes

Does the privacy policy state that the app does not collect data?:Yes

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Professional Reviews

Professional Review

Not Yet Available

Virtual Hope Box is a multi-media coping skill app designed for individuals struggling with depression (particularly military service members). The four main features of Virtual Hope Box include sections for distraction, inspiration, relaxation, and coping skill options. The distraction techniques include games that require focus, like Sudoku and word puzzles. The relaxation techniques offer a variety of guided and self-controlled meditation exercises. The coping techniques offer suggestions for activities that reduce stress. The inspiration section offers brief quotes to improve mood and motivation. The app can be used in collaboration with a mental health provider through the “coping cards” feature, which can be programmed to address specific problem areas. The relaxation tools can also be used with a clinical professional or other meditation partner, if desired.

Technical Details

Available for: Requires iOS 10.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Requires Android 5.0 and up.
Developer: DHA Connected Health / Department of Veteran Affairs (VA)
Type of Treatment: Cognitive Behavioral Principles, Symptom Tracking/Self-Monitoring, Gratitude
Targeted Conditions: Mood Disorders, PTSD
Target Audience: Adults, Military Personnel
Designed to be used in conjunction with a professional? Recommended
Languages Available: English, German, Japanese, Polish, Simplified Chinese, Spanish
Cost: Free
Get it on: Apple App Store, Google Play

Research on this App

In a study published in 2017, a total of 117 veterans were randomly assigned to either the VHB or enhanced treatment as usual (eTAU) condition. Findings showed yjsy a higher rate of change in coping self-efficacy was associated with a decrease in severity of suicidal ideation. This suggests that coping self-efficacy may be one mechanism by which the VHB operates to help reduce suicidal ideation. (Denneson, L. M., Smolenski, D. J., Bauer, B. W., Dobscha, S. K., & Bush, N. E. 2019. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13811118.2018.1456383)

In another study published in 2016, 118 U.S. service veterans in activemental health treatment were randomized into a Virtual Hope Box (VHB) treatment group (N=58) or a control group that received printed materials about coping with suicidality (N=60). Participants in the treatment group reported significantly greater ability to cope with unpleasant emotions and thoughts compared with the control group. (Bush, N. E., Smolenski, D. J., Denneson, L. M., Williams, H. B., Thomas, E. K., & Dobscha, S. K. 2017. https://ps.psychiatryonline.org/doi/full/10.1176/appi.ps.201600283)

In a proof-of-concept study published in 2014, VHB was integrated into VA behavioral health treatment and it was found that high‐risk patients and their clinicians used the VHB more regularly. Patients and clinicians found the VHB beneficial, useful, easy to set up, and said they were likely to use the VHB in the future and recommend the VHB to peers. (Bush, N. E., Dobscha, S. K., Crumpton, R., Denneson, L. M., Hoffman, J. E., Crain, A., … & Kinn, J. T. 2015. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/sltb.12103)

How we evaluate

We review apps against rating criteria developed by experts in the field. Some of those criteria are:

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Credibility

We look at the research supporting the technology and the credibility of the development process.

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Transparency

We review privacy policies to see if key pieces of information about what happens with entered data are addressed.

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User Experience

We explore how fun, functional, easy-to-use, engaging, and interesting the technology is.

ProfessionalReviews

Professional Reviews

A professional in a relevant field downloads and uses the technology and writes a narrative review, highlighting pros & cons and some recommendations for use.

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