We recently learned about the new App for smart phones called “After School.” It’s an app that allows students to anonymously post about sensitive issues. However, many fear that the app may be used for bullying. This article from the Washington Post is how we found out about the app.
After reviewing the new update posted by the developers, we think they have taken a lot of steps to make the app safer. Some of these include 24/7 moderating, an emergency notification system, community guidelines, and the ability for students to remove harmful content. To join your school’s anonymous community, the app uses Facebook and your friends on Facebook to identify that you are friends with other students who belong to your school. If you want to see any sexual or profane content, you have to prove you are over 17 and scan your driver’s license. Still, adolescents are smart, and there are likely ways to hack the system.
What do you think about these updates? Does it make the app safe? Do you know people who use the app? Tell us about it!
As public health advocates, we are constantly concerned with cultural competencies and addressing the unique needs of those we serve. The Kaiser Health News recently published an article that showcases culture’s role in identifying depression and seeking treatment. Research has shown that Asian Americans are more likely to consider suicide than their white counterparts. Depression among this frequently overlooked and understudied population segment is particularly challenging due to the cultural barriers that stand in the way of diagnosing and treating the condition. The article notes that depression is often not seen as a brain disease and is typically stigmatized due to the high standards that are set within the culture. The author illustrates this through an incredibly poignant story of an adolescent Asian American girl’s struggle with depression and the challenges she faced when confronting her family regarding her mental health needs.
Please take a look and share your thoughts on issues you have faced relating to cultural competencies and overlooked and under-served population segments.
Lastly, don’t forget about our collaboration page and please provide us with your feedback whenever you have a moment!
WIRED Magazine recently published an article that discusses MIT’s Robert Morris and his unique and exciting research on crowdsourcing a peer-to-peer cognitive reappraisal platform. Similar to SOVA, Morris’s project is aimed at improving the mental health of those struggling with depression by using a web-based intervention. The intervention, Panoply, is an interactive platform that relies on evidence-based cognitive behavioral therapy as a means to reframe and reassess negative thoughts. Panoply provides an electronic platform for posting content, responding to others, and receiving responses. On the front end, users can use this as a tool in their cognitive behavioral therapy. On the back end, Mechanical Turk provides sincere, human-based interactions. Looking ahead, Morris and his start-up team at Kokoare currently working toward developing Panoply into a consumer app.
Do any of you already know of research using Mechanical Turk or other crowdsourcing measures to reach end users? What do you think about Robert Morris’s research? Is there anything you think the SOVA team can learn from what he has done?
We wanted to follow up on one of our posts last month, Texting That Saves Lives. Just to recap, Nancy Lublin did a fabulous job at showcasing texting as a powerful tool to reach adolescents struggling with depression. Recently, NPR published a related article that discusses using texting as a public health intervention. The article below provides insight on how a pilot program, NYC Teen Text, will use texting as a tool to design a creative intervention to implement at 10 New York public high schools. Let us know your thoughts! Are any of you currently using texting to reach adolescents with depression? Are the methods similar or different? We want to hear from you!
We wanted to tell you about an awesome project that came out of the White House earlier this month. Last week, President Obama and his staff unrolled the Student Film Festival to showcase videos illustrating the impact of giving back through the eyes of teens around the nation. Students around the country have used this opportunity as a venue to exercise their creative energy and inspire those around them. Please tune in to witness a truly moving glimpse into the overlooked reality of students living in this country today.
Check out Nancy Lublin’s TED Talk on the incredible power of using texting to collect real-time behavioral data from teens. Nancy discusses the prevalence of texting among teens, noting that not only are 3000-4000 text messages sent a month, but those texts are opened 100% of the time. She tells the story of why and how a crisis text line was created for teens, and discusses the success dosomething.org has had with texting over emailing. Nancy suggests we all start seriously considering this powerful tool when communicating with young adults and teens struggling from depression.