New app makes seeking help a goal for teens

Innovative new research, in collaboration with young people, has taken ‘Truth or Dare’ to a whole new level for 2016!

Dubbed Goalzie, a new free app has been developed to promote the idea that getting help from peers, developing a positive social network and setting and achieving goals is not only healthy, but fun.

The app targets young people aged 12 to 17 years old, and reinvents the old-school ‘Truth or Dare’ game for the next generation, all to help maintain their wellbeing.

Goalzie has been designed to encourage peer-to-peer interactions and goal-setting by giving players the opportunity to challenge friends and be challenged by them. Challenges might be physical, such as doing a dance work out; may target self-regulation, such as giving up chocolate for a week; or encourage creativity, such as making a Vine video.

The game allows players to set fun consequences for unachieved goals – doing chores, washing the family car or weeding the garden.

Associate Professor Jane Burns, CEO of the Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre, said: “Evidence shows us that 75% of mental health difficulties occur before the age of 25, and that 70% of girls and 80% of boys don’t seek help for managing their mental health issues. Through apps like Goalzie we are trying to break down stigma and instil help-seeking behaviour using humour and gamification.”

The app—created by the Young and Well CRC and the University of South Australia in conjunction with the Western Sydney University, Zuni and the Queensland University of Technology—was developed through a series of co-creation workshops with young people.

One of the campaign co-collaborators involved in the design and production of Goalzie, 13-year-old Diya Mehta, said: “Young people were fully immersed in the creative process, testing, improving and designing the app themselves. This all presents itself in the app; an important way for people to connect with themselves and others, all through a creative and playful medium.

“Created with infinite care, Goalzie transforms Truth or Dare into an engaging game, designed to seal bridges of friendship help bolster confidence, and improve goal-setting skills,” Diya said.

As an added bonus, Goalzie also includes access to The Toolbox – a resource created by ReachOut Australia in partnership with the Young and Well CRC to further help young people seek help through identifying goals. The Toolbox provides a collection of over 50 health and wellbeing tools and apps endorsed by professionals and reviewed by people under 25 years old.

Lead researcher on the project, Dr Barbara Spears, from the University of South Australia, said Goalzie was trialled by young people and the research insights will be available mid-year.

“By practising setting goals for others, and helping them to achieve their goals in a fun way, young people are learning and establishing important, positive patterns of behaviour. Being socially connected, and reaching out to others for help and assistance breaks down barriers and stigma about setting goals and seeking help to achieve them. We are investigating how young people have engaged with Goalzie with a view to further understanding the potential of social marketing campaigns to improve wellbeing of young people,” Dr Spears said.

Visit and download the free app now for iPhone or Android.

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
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