Introducing i-Bobbly

Our essential partner, the Black Dog Institute, introduces i-Bobbly – an app for Indigenous Australians aged 18 to 30.

Research tells us psychological treatments based on Cognitive Behavioural and Acceptance and Commitment therapies can lower suicide risk and suicidal thoughts, but these have yet to be tried in Indigenous communities – where a dearth of professionals make delivering such treatments difficult, and people might not ask for help due to a sense of shame.

i-Bobbly is an app that aims to reduce suicidal thinking, depression, distress and impulsivity in these communities. Delivering a treatment based on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), i-Bobbly uses mindfulness and values-based action, drawing on stories and imagery that feature traditional activities (storytelling, drawing, painting, fishing) to encourage self-soothing.

  • Module 1: Helps users become aware of their thoughts, feelings and behaviours, providing tools to manage upsetting thoughts.
  • Module 2: Helps users manage their emotions using strategies such as talking to someone, engaging in soothing activities and mindfulness exercises, and finding meaning in their plan.
  • Module 3: Helps users identify the characteristics they want to stand for and encourages them to set realistic goals to move them in this direction.

The team behind i-Bobbly – including Alive & Kicking Goals, HITNet InnovationsThoughtworksMuru Marri Indigenous Health Unit UNSW and BackTrack in addition to the Black Dog Institute and Young and Well CRC – engaged Kimberley artists and graphic designers to create imagery for the app, with Indigenous young people providing their voices for it through Goolarri Media.

i-Bobbly can be used anonymously and, once uploaded to a tablet, does not require internet access. Young people who have dropped out of school and are disconnected from family and community are often at risk but are hard to engage – an app may be one way of breaking through.

The effectiveness of the app will be tested by comparing a group that uses the app with a group on a waitlist for a period of seven weeks. Individuals in the waitlisted group will have their wellbeing checked three times during the seven weeks, after which they will be given the app to trial too.

We look forward to sharing the results of this trial with you.

18/05/2016 to 27/05/2016
2016 Mental Health in Schools Conference
19/05/2016 to 10/06/2016
Positive Schools Conference
01/06/2016 to 03/06/2016
Mental Health for Young People: Creating Positive Futures—ACCSSQ Conference
13/07/2016 to 15/07/2016
Student Well-Being and Prevention of Violence Research Centre Conference
24/07/2016 to 27/07/2016
National Suicide Prevention Conference
28/07/2016 to 29/07/2016
SYHPANZ Conference – Absolutely Positively Youth Health
10/08/2016 to 12/08/2016
17th International Mental Health Conference
Posted: 12 September, 2013

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail to someone
Share this page

Recent posts


Suicide Prevention – a call to action

In Canberra today leaders in suicide and mental health, led by consultancy ConNetica and the Brain and Mind Centre University of Sydney, released details on suicide across 28 Federal electorates. Supporting the release were four parents…


Suicide Prevention – an Action Agenda

Australia was one of the first countries to develop a national suicide prevention strategy, initially focussing on young people in 1995 and then expanded to the whole population in 1999. Despite those two decades of effort…


Young people’s mental health and technology: educators can play a role, too

In this blog post, our Managing Director of Digital Education, Dr Michael Carr-Gregg, talks about the importance of integrating technology for wellbeing in our schools, and how we can make it happen. The idea to use technology…


Breathing easy: Six apps to make the most of the air around us

Dr Michael Carr-Gregg and Dr Melissa Weinberg Michael often prescribe deep breathing exercises to adolescent clients as a relatively simple way to decrease stress and keep them motivated, especially around Year 12 exams. But surely everyone…