There is increasing research indicating online tools can help
alleviate or prevent mental illness and well-designed apps are as
effective as face-to-face therapies, particularly if there is
additional practitioner support. These apps use various strategies for
example, providing a better understanding of the physical signs of
anxiety, such as increased heart rate and others are used to help
moderate or change behaviour.

Many apps gather personal data and then share it with commercial
interests. They are free because you are providing information about
medication, what therapy you are undertaking, where you live etc. Many
of the most popular apps are yet to be properly assessed and evaluated
and many of those that have been evaluated lack popular appeal at the

Evidence-based apps and online programs can help you build personal
skills and track progress. They hold great promise, for example The
Black Dog's myCompass app can be used by GPs as a first step screening
for mental health wellbeing.
When choosing an app, the Black Dog Institute suggests:

  • Check that the app or the principles it uses is based on evidence
  • Be aware that a high rating does not necessarily mean a high quality
  • Look at who developed the app and ideally check they have a background or reputation in mental health
  • Check the adequacy of the privacy policy

Head to Health is a web portal designed to make it easy to find mental health services and resources. It is the result of cooperation between the Australian Government department of Health, mental health organisations, service providers, health professionals people and families with a lived experience of mental health issues and the public. The listing for how to navigate the four types of digital resource is on the home page, clearly listing the websites, apps and programs, forums and phone/chat and email available. If you don't know where to begin, there is Sam the Chatbot who will ask some questions and guide you in the right direction for information. There is also a list of phone and webchat contacts available for immediate support The website Beacon is also an online portal developed by the Australian National University. All the mobile apps and websites listed have been categorised , reviewed and rated by a panel of health experts.


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