Overview of SPARK

SPARK is a mobile phone application which identifies people’s values, describes them, and then provides steps to improve one’s life to be consistent with those values.

The SPARK positive psychology mobile application, currently in development, will provide easy access to evidence-based techniques and peer encouragement for people experiencing physical and/or psychological symptoms, which lead to psychological distress, social isolation and depression. The tool will help them build their resilience, increase wellbeing, deepen social connections and ultimately transform their lives.

SPARK is a mobile application, integrating social media and SMS technology, to help people feeling the pressures of life, to become more fulfilled by discovering and doing the things that most inspire them. Underpinned by research, this values-based application encourages users to connect with like-minded people to help them transform their lives and create significant change in their communities by providing potent, yet simple, positive psychology tips.

Rationale

Over 3 million people in Australia live with mental health problems and many more live with emerging symptoms of mental ill-health which are directly responsible for workplace inefficiencies, life dissatisfaction, relationship breakdown, violence, homelessness and potentially suicide.

The idea of relieving psychological distress whilst improving overall wellbeing is at the cutting edge of psychological and social intervention. Although research has indicated that identifying and working to one’s values is a cornerstone to optimal mental health and wellbeing, to date there have been no mobile-enabled projects addressing this issue.

Furthermore, once their values have been identified, there are no applications that encourage users to link up with other users who share common values in order to build social capital and effect change at a community level.

Program type

 Mobile app (in development)

spark mobile app from digital dog

Methods

SPARK expands on Black Dog Institute’s proven methodology to establish psychological e-Health programs. The SPARK prototype is under development and provides a unified interface so that the experience and effectiveness is consistent, regardless of the device or location.

Once SPARK is downloaded to a mobile device (Android or iOS), a quiz helps users discover what they value most deeply. Mobile is ideal for this process due to its convenience and intimacy.

The application integrates with a centralised database comprising algorithms which determine key values. Based on quiz results, users receive a personalised visual map of their most important values and simple, personalised tips via SMS or mobile notifications to remind them of their values as they work towards their personal goals. This graphic can also be shared on social networks to connect with others to work towards group and community goals.

Testing of SPARK is currently underway. SPARK will be iteratively refined, measured and expanded to develop a viable product based on data and feedback from users. Following this period of evaluation, SPARK will be made available to targeted audiences who have high stress and/or anxiety.

Contributors

Vijaya Manicavasagar
Jacqui Wallace
Nic Newling
Matthew Delprado
Rowan Burckhardt

Funding

Yoga Aid Foundation