We are excited to announce the next step in SOVA. We are recruiting users to become SOVA (adolescent site) or wiseSOVA (parent site) ambassadors! This means that we will ask them to try to write a blogpost each month and comment at least once a week.
Our hope is that this new phase will grow site engagement and that the bloggers themselves will experience benefits from blogging!
Remember, if you know a young person with symptoms of depression or anxiety – or a parent who has had a child with these symptoms – who may be interested in blogging, please let them know about sovaproject! They can click register on sova.pitt.edu or wisesova.pitt.edu and start interacting!
We are reposting this today in an effort to reach our fundraising goal! Please give at least $5 if you can – every little bit counts. Even $25 funds a suicide loss survivor attending their local International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day (ISOSL) event.
Yesterday was the 2016 Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC Summer Student Research Poster Day. Our summer students, Amie and Anh presented their posters on the SOVA Project.
Amie spent this summer working hard on engaging youth and parents to check out the sites, comment, and get more involved. For her poster, she looked at whether use of the site increased with some of her strategies, like doing a pet photo contest!
Anh examined our baseline data on adolescents and young adults who were involved in giving us feedback on the SOVA sites. She was specifically interested to see if characteristics of positive youth development, such as caring, correlated with depression severity.
We thank them for their awesome work and enthusiasm this summer and wish them the best of luck!
I’m excited to share some of our recent work with you regarding evaluating smartphone applications for mental health.
Our article published in this month’s edition of Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking examines a group of popular mental health apps and characterizes them, based on their app store descriptions. We looked at what the purpose of these apps seemed to be for: were they for symptom relief or just education, for example? Also we wanted to know did they seem to cover the bases regarding what types of mental health information would be important for mental health app consumers – like letting consumers know whether the app is evidence based or whether it protects their privacy. Like others in the field, we think it is important for clinicians to talk to their patients about what apps they might be using for their mental health. And to sit down together to look into whether the app is actually helpful or not.
This article on fastcompany.com talks about the multiple stakeholders involved in developing mental health apps and how their views on the best approach may differ. This is why sometimes the individual may need to do some more work on their end before knowing whether an app will be useful to them.
On sova and wisesova, each Friday we post about online resources. Recently we highlighted myhealthapps.net. This is a site which uses patient reviews to help others decide whether to try out an app or not. We also asked our online communities on sova to try out apps and let others know if they found them useful.
Of course, there is much more to ask about and learn on this topic, and we hope our recent article is a conversation-starter!
This post was written by Ashley Seiler, MSW candidate.
We recently wrote an article on SOVA and on wiseSOVA that explained a study on co-rumination and it turned out to be a very relatable topic for both our adolescents and parents! Since co-rumination is such an easy pattern to fall into, it seems like a natural way to cope with our problems. However, this study pointed out the negative impacts of co-rumination, such as not developing effective coping skills or problem solving thinking. Both the parents and youth found this article to be very interesting and we had comments on both of our websites.
This is a good example of a way to bring research into practice. On the SOVA websites, some posts attempt to translate the research data into information that can be easily digested by adolescents and parents. In the clinic, a behavioral health clinician or medical provider may notice that a patient and their parent both seem to be focusing on only one negative topic and decide to talk to them separately about the issue. This can help facilitate independent problem-solving to work towards finding a solution instead of dwelling on the negativity of the situation. Then you can revisit the topic together to make a plan. This can also help to empower our adolescent patients to take ownership of their health care.
This week, we thought it might be interesting to share some of the feedback we are getting from users and how this is informing changes we are making to the sova sites.
Last year, Theresa wrote and then recently reposted a brief overview of all the different types of helping professionals who can help to treat mental illness called, “What do all these letters mean?” – referring to the post-nominal letters after a professional’s name like PhD.
We received several comments on that article letting us know it was helpful but that young people especially wanted to know more information and details. Our new research assistant, Amie, set to work. At first she created a table which looked great on word but blurry in wordpress. We have started using piktochart, an infographic design app, for a newsletter we send out to research participants. We thought – why not try making a more interesting looking infographic instead of a table? Infographics look great and seem to be more engaging, grabbing a user’s attention in a fun way. Although as Amie will tell you, they do require some time and perseverance!
These articles were published yesterday on sova and wisesova with the infographics.
What do you think? Feel free to comment below or email us! We value you this group as our stakeholders and welcome any advice! Thank you!
This week we tried out using a more provocative title on our sites, “When I grow up, I don’t want to be like you.” This title is meant to grab the reader’s attention, but the context of the article is bringing up the issue of worrying you will “turn into” a relative who has a similar problem with mental illness. We hope the article makes readers think about how they are a unique individual and even though mental illness can run in families, they are the captain of their own ship. In addition for adolescents, if they are in treatment, it is likely that they are receiving it earlier than their relatives did – as it takes an average of 10 years! to get into treatment for mental illness. Check out these posts on our adolescent site, sova.pitt.edu and on our parent site, wisesova.pitt.edu.
In other news, SOVA is now on Instagram! If you have an account, please follow us at sovaproject.
If you are someone who likes to share blog articles you enjoy with your social network, feel free to look through our articles on sova.pitt.edu (intervention site for adolescents) and wisesova.pitt.edu (intervention site for parents). We were excited to share with you a couple weeks ago the reasons we opened up our blogs so that anyone can read the articles. If they would like to comment, then they have to log-in and enter the study. The current phase of the study is to get feedback on the sites to continue to improve them, and to build our user community.
We’ve added easy to use share buttons at the bottom of each blog article, so feel free to share away even if you are not in the study! Thanks for your continued support!