Product Design • Black Dog Institute • Loom Studios
myCompass is a clinically validated self-help program for sufferers of mild to moderate mental health issues, developed nearly a decade ago at the Black Dog Institute. Obviously, times have changed and that program is now under review for a wholesale upgrade.
During the initial planning of the project, it emerged that there was room for an even more lightweight program, specifically designed for mobile devices that was less of a “program” and more a series of exercises that a user could dip in and out of at their leisure to improve their mental state in the moment. This product was to be called “myCompass Now”.
Working directly with the clinical psychology team that ran myCompass, we looked at the overall spectrum of people suffering some form of mental health problem, and dove deep on the people that have mild issues, such as anxiety, mild depression, and compulsive thoughts, and looked at how we could help them in tiny bursts of activity.
These 2-5 minute activities became the foundation for myCompass Now.
At it’s core, the app is made up of over 20 exercises with dozens of unique variations to keep them fresh each time. This makes for hundreds of unique activities.
Some activities are simple games, helping a user be a bit more present and help them let go of obsessive thoughts, or to calm down after an argument
Others simulate conversations with a therapist, with the conversations scaffolded from the extensive clinical experience of Black Dog Institute psychologists.
Others take the form of simple meditations that can be listened to or (if the situation doesn't allow for sound) be read along with, karaoke style.
All of these options would be a little overwhelming to someone who’s just looking for a bit of instant relief when things aren't going well, so instead a short 2 step questionnaire about how they're feeling, and the intensity of those feelings is used. These results are then compared to the history of each user to make a recommendation of a few different activities that would help in that moment.
But occasionally, a user might find an activity that they love, and so for those users myCompass now includes a “toolkit” where any individual activity can be saved and run again at any moment. Alongside this, the app also keeps a history of each activity, as well as the users self reported mental state.
As the new myCompass program launches in the coming years, myCompass Now will continue to live on as a “light” sibling to the more involved program. It will also act as a light trial for people who aren't sure about committing to a full program just yet.
Additional activities and their variations will be added over time, so that even the most dedicated users will always have new content to discover.