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Update! Whitu: Coping skills app for young people during pandemic

Updated: Sep 21, 2020

"We have recently submitted our protocol paper outlining the plan for our focus groups and the randomised controlled trial (RCT) to JMIR Research Protocols and our paper is currently under review. You can find our preprint here," writes Dr Anna Serlachius of the Whitu app project team who are creating a mobile phone app aimed at providing young New Zealanders with tools to help them tackle anxiety and depression.

What does this mean for the study? The methods are freely available for anyone to view, and the early registration of the trial's aims and outcomes can be measured and compared openly when it finishes. This type of open access publication is increasingly common and helpful to many researchers.

Want a sneak a peek at the technology? View the Whitu app here on the Google Play store.

Dr Hiran Thabrew and Dr Anna Serlachius
Sample screen in the Whitu app tracking feelings over time

Dr Serlachius says, "Eva Morunga and Nic Cao (our Maori and Pacific co-investigators) have been integral to helping us recruit and facilitate the focus groups for Maori and Pacific young people and with adapting the app to ensure Maori and Pacific youth find it culturally appropriate and engaging.

"We are currently updating the Whitu app based on the feedback both from the pilot study and the focus groups. If all goes according to plan, we hope to have an updated prototype by the end of September after which we’ll start recruitment for the RCT.

"And lastly, I also want to acknowledge our fantastic research assistants, David Lim and Anna Boggiss, who keep this project running smoothly. We have a fantastic team and are all very appreciative of the funding from AMRF."

Look for more Whitu updates soon!

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