Help design a smartphone app

Help design a smartphone app

Orygen Digital is the digital mental health division of Orygen. We’re always working to create new and better technology that genuinely helps young people who’ve struggled with their mental health to feel better and build the lives they want. We have a team of software engineers, psychologists, artists and peer workers who work together to develop these digital tools.  

Right now, we are working on building a smartphone app to help young people who’ve had an experience of anxiety and/or depression. The app is specifically designed to help these young people get unstuck from negative thoughts, sometimes called ‘rumination’, ‘worry’ or just ‘overthinking’.

Why are we conducting this workshop?

Because the app is for young people with an experience of anxiety or depression who tend to get stuck in their thoughts, we need to speak to young people with this experience to understand how it should work for them.

Who are we looking for?

We are looking for a group of up to 10 young people who are:

  • aged between 16 and 25-years-old;
  • live in Australia;
  • have had some treatment for anxiety or depression;
  • have had some experience with getting stuck in negative thoughts; and
  • are interested in speaking with us about a smartphone app for helping with depression and anxiety.

Where there is more interest than available spaces, young people will be selected to ensure there is diversity of perspectives and experiences within the group. Priority will also be given to young people who have had fewer opportunities to have their voices heard.

What is involved?

Your involvement will include attending a one-off group workshop in mid June. The workshop will go for about two hours and will be conducted over Zoom.

In the workshop, you’ll be asked to participate in a group discussion with up to nine other young people and the design team about:

  • your day-to-day experiences with depression, anxiety and stuck thinking;
  • your experiences with treatment for depression, anxiety and stuck thinking, and the things that have been more or less helpful; and
  • your opinions and ideas for how a smartphone app might be able to help you get unstuck from negative thinking.

After the workshop, we’ll ask if you’re willing for us to keep your contact details in case opportunities come up for further sessions that you might like to be part of. It’ll be completely up to you to decide whether you’d be happy to be contacted by us in the future or not.

why get involved?

We hope the smartphone app that we develop will have a real impact on young people struggling with depression and anxiety. Your input will help us make sure the app is as helpful as it can be.

While this is primarily a volunteer role, you’ll receive an honorarium of $30 per hour ($60 in total) to cover costs associated with participating in this two hour workshop. 

Outcomes of the project

By the end of 2020, we hope to have a full working prototype of the smartphone app that you are providing input into. We then need to test whether it’s safe and effective for young people to use, so we will then conduct a research study where young people can try it out. If we get positive results, we expect that the app will be made publicly available some time in 2021 or 2022.

We will publish regular updates about the project on the Orygen website so that everyone can keep up to date. We will also publish the findings of the research study in scientific journals so that the broader field can learn from this work. We would like to give credit to the youth participants in these publications, if they are comfortable.


If you’re interested, please complete the form below and someone from the team will be in touch.

If you would like some more information, you can contact Imogen Bell, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, e-Orygen, at You can also contact Lauren Brain, Youth Participation Project Officer, at or 0474 418 412.

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