introducing Mello: a smartphone app treating youth depression and anxiety

Mello is a ground-breaking smartphone app designed to address 'stuck thinking'  associated with depression and anxiety.

Developed by researchers, psychologists and technology experts alongside young people, Mello works by addressing the root cause of anxiety and depression: repetitive negative thinking, or 'stuck thinking.'

This kind of unhelpful thinking pattern - which is also known as worry and rumination and involves going over and over negative thoughts in your mind - has been identified by research as a major mechanism driving symptoms of anxiety and depression.

1.3 million young Australians are affected by depression and anxiety each year. Reducing stuck thinking is crucial to achieving a better quality of life for them.

A mobile phone in a person's hand, showing a Mello app activity

How it works

Mello empowers users to manage their mental health proactively by using practical, science-backed techniques such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT).

The app provides evidence-based activities that offer in-the-moment relief from negative thoughts, while also building skills to break the cycle of negative thinking long term.

Users can track their mood and receive tailored therapy activity recommendations through regular check-ins and access a range of evidence-based therapy activities to improve their mental wellbeing by recognizing and breaking the cycle of stuck thinking.

What the research says

­In a recent randomised controlled trial, young people with clinical levels of depression and/or anxiety and problems with repetitive negative thinking used the app for six weeks and the results were compared to a control group.

The Mello group showed greater improvements in depression, anxiety, repetitive negative thinking and wellbeing than the control group.

The study found that:

  • 82% of Mello users experienced less anxiety
  • 79% were less depressed, and
  • 83% had less repetitive negating thinking.

After using Mello, one in three young people no longer had clinically significant depression, and one in four no longer had clinically significant anxiety.

Get involved

Mello is currently in beta, and users can sign up to be beta testers to help shape the future of the app.

The Mello Beta Project is a space for users to test new features, share experiences, request new features, report bugs, and provide feedback.

Sign up by downloading Mello from the app store.

Orygen Digital is committed to keeping user data safe, and the app's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy are available in the Mello app.

Project lead: Dr Imogen Bell

For more information: contact Dr Imogen Bell at [email protected] or the Mello app team at [email protected]