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A. Tugwell

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    RF05 - Consumer Digital Health Partnership (ID 27)

    • Event: e-Health 2018 Virtual Meeting
    • Type: Rapid Fire Session
    • Track: Clinical Delivery
    • Presentations: 1
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      RF05.05 - Breathr: Supporting Youth Mental Health Through an Innovative App (ID 396)

      A. Tugwell, BC Children's Hospital; Vancouver/CA

      • Abstract
      • Slides

      Purpose/Objectives: The practice of mindfulness has recently received significant attention in the media for its usefulness in promoting social and emotional well-being and contributing to the ability to manage difficult or stressful situations. Mindfulness is all about encouraging awareness of oneself in the present moment, without judgment. While initial studies on mindfulness focused primarily on adults, practicing mindfulness has benefits for children and youth too. Youth are increasingly using the internet and mobile devices when seeking mental health information and resources. The rising trend of digitizing health care, and the desire to increase health care accessibility to tech-savvy youth, inspired the Health Literacy team at BC Children's Hospital to develop “Breathr” – a new app to help introduce the concept of mindfulness and create an easy access point for those who are new to this practice. Breathr provides opportunities for users to try out a variety of mindfulness practices, while also teaching them interesting facts about the brain science behind those practices. The aim is to show youth that mindfulness can be fun, easy to try, and that it can have very real benefits for their overall health and well-being. The app is also a tool that can help prevent mental health challenges such as depression and anxiety from developing or escalating. Breathr was developed in collaboration with BC Children’s Hospital medical professionals, mindfulness experts and youth, making it an informed and evidence-based resource. This rapid-fire presentation will be a live demonstration of the Breathr app, highlighting its engaging components and features.

      Methodology/Approach: The Breathr app is an example of one of the many youth-focused eHealth resources the Health Literacy Team has developed, in collaboration with youth and other key stakeholders, to address the mental health literacy needs of youth and emerging adults through evidence-informed approaches. The Team engages youth in a variety of ways when creating new resources; for example, youth are involved in content development and design to ensure that resources are appealing and relevant to the target audience.

      Finding/Results: The Health Literacy Team’s youth-focused initiatives have become widely recognized and utilized throughout British Columbia. The creation of websites and mobile apps, and province-wide dissemination through social media channels has increased accessibility of mental health information and supports for youth. Breathr has been downloaded over 5072 since its launch in May 2017 and feedback has been very positive. A youth who struggled with anxiety and depression and was involved in the development of the Breathr app commented: “I found mindfulness to be one of the most valuable tools to maintain my personal wellness and cope with the symptoms of anxiety and depression when they would come up. I believe that making mindfulness easy and accessible to youth – through platforms such as Breathr – will allow more young people to discover the benefits mindfulness can have in their day-to-day lives like I have.”

      Conclusion/Implications/Recommendations: Through the development of innovative and evidence-informed eHealth tools and resources, such as the Breathr App, the Health Literacy Team is supporting the mental health literacy of youth in British Columbia and helping to reduce stigma associated with mental health challenges.

      140 Character Summary: An overview of Breathr, an app designed in collaboration with youth and professionals, to help youth tackle stresses in their lives through practicing mindfulness.

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