BITE BACK program
The Black Dog Institute’s BITE BACK contains interactive activities, quizzes, stories and videos, as well as information about various mental health topics. The content (and content delivery) has been informed by the principles of positive psychology.
The key objectives of BITE BACK are to encourage young people to become more engaged in all aspects of their lives, and to build their resilience. The program also offers an environment for young people to build community networks and access information about youth issues.
Why was BITE BACK created?
Youth mental health is a significant concern worldwide. The majority of mental health concerns have their onset before 25 years of age, but only one in four young people will seek professional help.
In Australia, the 2014 Mission Australia Youth Survey estimated that 21.2% of the 15-19 year olds surveyed met the criteria for a probable serious mental illness.
In order to address the prevalence and severity of mental health issues in young people, public health authorities and health professionals are turning to novel strategies and e-mental health solutions. BITE BACK is the first online intervention program that uses positive psychology principles to improve youth mental health.
What is the evidence to support BITE BACK?
BITE BACK has been created by a collaborative team of psychologists, young people and digital media specialists, using positive psychology principles to enhance the mental health of all young people.
Positive psychology seeks to understand what leads a person to feel content, happy, and engaged in life. It offers an innovative approach to youth mental health by focussing on improving mental wellbeing and increasing overall resilience, rather than simply alleviating symptoms of a mental disorder (which has been the focus of traditional preventative programs).
How well does BITE BACK work?
Our research has indicated that the use of BITE BACK can decrease symptoms of concern, and increase feelings of wellbeing in young people. This effect is especially strong for those using the website frequently and/or longer than 30 minutes per week.
As this is the first program of its kind, user feedback has been integral to the ongoing success and growth of BITE BACK. Current feedback on the BITE BACK website indicates a high level of acceptability to users.
With BITE BACK being an ongoing project, the Black Dog Institute continues to research positive psychology interventions in schools, in order to ensure that this project remains reflective of current knowledge and best practices.