AIMhi-Y app supporting First Nations young people in rural, remote and urban settings at risk of distress and suicide

Posted 27th February 2024 in Sector news

Aboriginal and Islander Mental Health Initiative for Youth (AIMhi-Y) is a digital mental health meeting place in the form of an app to support First Nations young people in rural, remote, and urban settings at risk of distress and suicide.

More than 100 First Nations young people in the Northern Territory helped develop the AIMhi-Y app with the Menzies School of Health Research Stay Strong team. Designed as a suicide prevention initiative, this strengths-based, storytelling app mixes mental health information and treatment in a fun, gamified and interactive app. It includes guidance from elders and builds connection with country and language. A pilot study of the app showed youth felt improved wellbeing after just four weeks of app use.

The app was publicly released in 2023, and the Stay Strong team are now working with young people and services in the Northern Territory and South Australia to create new content and to promote uptake in schools and services through training and app promotion.

To inform the new content, a series of workshops were held in Adelaide and Alice Springs. Seventy young First Nations people joined 8 interactive yarning style workshops in Adelaide. Conducted by local Kaurna cultural leaders, these sessions developed skills in weaving, jewellery making and bush medicine and explored young people’s views about wellbeing. The outcomes from these workshops, and with advice from Kaurna Elders, recommend new app characters, stories, video, and game content.

In Alice Springs, 15 young people attended 11 music workshops over 8 weeks. They shared ideas about wellbeing, strengths, worries and making change and produced a hip-hop music video ‘Staying Strong’ for the app along with content for a new Arrente story.

Menzies School of Health Research Stay Strong team says they “hope the updates to the app will encourage more young people to nurture their wellbeing and reach out for help when needed. It’s hoped the new content will make the app even more interesting and relevant to young mob.”

Contact Menzies School of Health Research to join our AIMhi for Youth app training network [email protected] and download the app cost-free from the App store or Google Play to check it out for yourself.

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