myCompass is free online, interactive self-help program. myCompass is designed to address mild to-moderate symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression through personalised treatments delivered entirely online.
myCompass is a fully automated, interactive self-help program that is delivered via the Internet to people's computers, mobile phones and tablet devices. The program provides people experiencing mild-to-moderate symptoms of stress, anxiety and/or depression, with 24/7 access to a private, personalised and evidence-based treatment program. Registering to use myCompass is free, and evidence from a large community based trial shows that myCompass works to reduce mental health symptoms and improve work and social functioning.
myCompass contains a number of psycho educational or skill building modules derived from cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), problem solving therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy and positive psychology.
Other features include:
- real-time self-monitoring of thoughts, feelings and behaviours (via mobile phone or computer)
- SMS or email self-monitoring reminders
- graphical feedback about self-monitoring information
- helpful facts, mental health-care tips or motivational statements (via SMS or email).
The Black Dog Institute ensures that myCompass is broadly available for all Australians to use, including people in rural and remote communities where access to face-to-face services is often difficult. The program undergoes continual evaluation and quality improvement, with current projects targeting the effectiveness of myCompass in people at particularly high risk of common mental health problems, including men and people living with diabetes.
There are currently more than 17,000 registered users of the myCompass program, with numbers steadily increasing. This reflects the substantial need in the community for mental health support that is convenient, readily accessible 24/7, private, low cost and most importantly, effective.
Diabetes is a common disease, and rates of depressive symptoms in people living with diabetes are two to three times higher than in the general population. This is clinically important because people with diabetes and depression have an increased risk of many negative health outcomes, including short- and long-term diabetes complications, compared with people with diabetes alone.
We are currently conducting a suite of studies in the diabetes area
Emotional distress in people with diabetes
This project, funded by the RACGP Foundation / Diabetes Australia, used information obtained from GPs and people with diabetes to develop a new module for inclusion in myCompass aimed at helping people balance the demands of diabetes with other important life goals. Called ‘Doing what really counts’, this module is now accessible by all users of myCompass that have diabetes.
myCompass as a treatment for depression and diabetes-related distress in people with type 2 diabetes
In a recent pilot study, myCompass showed promise as an intervention for depression and diabetes-related distress in people with diabetes. Using funding provided by the NHMRC, we are now conducting a large controlled study of myCompass as a self-help tool for people with type 2 diabetes living in NSW and Victoria.
Men are often reluctant help seekers. This project, funded by Beyondblue and donations from the Movember Foundation, used information collected from men to design a psychoeducational module for men with mild-to-moderate depressive symptoms.
Called ‘Man Central’, this module is now accessible by all male users of myCompass.
Randomised controlled trial. Proudfoot et al (2013) – RCT
Clarke J; Proudfoot J; Birch MR; Whitton AE; Parker G; Manicavasagar V; Harrison V; Christensen H; Hadzi-Pavlovic D, 2014, ‘Effects of mental health self-efficacy on outcomes of a mobile phone and web intervention for mild-to-moderate depression, anxiety and stress: secondary analysis of a randomised controlled trial.’, BMC Psychiatry, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 272, http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12888-014-0272-1
Development and delivery of myCompass is generously supported by the Australian Government Department of Health.
We are grateful also for support provided by Open Market.