Free app helping young people manage mental health

Stock image.
Stock image.

A FREE mental health app launched by Black Swan Health in WA is helping young people maintain employment with access to a counsellor at the touch of a button.

Youth Application Empowering Employment, known as YAppEE, was developed by health not-for-profit Black Swan Health in 2017, in partnership with Black Dog Institute.

YAppEE aims to support young people aged 15 to 25 who are experiencing mental health issues and may struggle maintaining employment, by providing access to mental health professionals over the phone.

A recent industry report indicated that mental health issues in young people had risen by 10 per cent in the past year, with mental health listed as one of the main barriers to finding and maintaining employment for people aged 15 to 19.

YAppEE clinician Caterina McNulty said the most common mental health diagnoses in young people are anxiety and depression.

She said that as mental health issues continue to rise, it is important that employers identify how they can provide support and understanding.

“Depression can manifest as a lack of energy, a persistent low mood, trouble sleeping or eating or difficulty concentrating,” she said

“Anxiety can make a young person overthink everything they are doing, it can make being around others very difficult and make a person feel nervous and uncomfortable in their body.”

“Even without a mental health issue, being in a new job can be nerve-wracking and stressful, so having the additional barrier of anxiety or depression makes things even harder.

“Whether their mental health issues are diagnosed or self-identified, it can be difficult to hold down a job, and without any support young people may take more time off work and ultimately lose their employment as a direct result of their mental health.

“Figures show that a high percentage of the population have had mental health issues at some point in their lives and it is most prevalent in our younger population, so it’s in an employer’s best interests to understand the impact of mental health issues and the impact it has for the person experiencing it.”

Ms McNulty said the YAppEE app monitored young people who were struggling with their mental health and offered them support to prevent issues escalating in the workplace.

“YAppEE is a free service for young people. The app allows registered users to monitor their moods with a simple and easy way to check-in. They can also receive wellbeing tips to help manage their mental health,” she said.

“The young person can request a call from an experienced counsellor to talk through work concerns or issues that could be having an impact on their ability to function at work.

“With the right support people living with mental health issues can maintain their employment, which is beneficial not only for their employers but for the young person themselves and their future employability.”