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SANE bipolar app

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SANE bipolar app

About the app

The SANE bipolar app will help people who experience mania as part of living with bipolar disorder. The app works by sensing activity throughout the day on digital devices to alert people to a potential onset of mania.

App users can share the data with a nominated loved one or mental health professional who can intervene to prevent or manage an episode. 

Gandel Philanthropy has generously provided seed funding for the app’s development and non-clinical trial.

Why is the app needed?

Mania can lead to high drug use, intense irritability, excessive spending, gambling, extreme sexual promiscuity, delusion, paranoia, and/or hallucination. There are serious consequences for the person experiencing the mania and their families including employment loss, loss of savings, relationship breakdown and potential suicide.

Destructive mania is often detected too late to take preventative action. So being able to identify the potential onset of mania can help to stave off the worst impacts of a destructive manic episode. Timely action can save a person’s life, prevent tragedies and spare family members from other serious impacts arising from a person’s behaviour whilst unwell.

Up to 460,000 adults experience the symptoms of bipolar disorder and approximately 92,000 of those people will have serious or complex mental illness. And if we include carers, the bipolar app could potentially help between 200,000—450,000 people.

How does it work?

The bipolar app works by sensing activity throughout the day and night across digital devices. This includes mobile phones, tablets and PCs, and healthware such as Google Fit compatible devices. This data is aggregated and mapped, identifying unusual rhythms of activity. Real-time and trend data, along with notifications and alerts are shared with one or more trusted support people.  

What makes the app unique?

The SANE bipolar app allows people with bipolar disorder to measure and monitor their activity in the context of their own lives, as opposed to against others living with bipolar disorder. Digital technology is pervasive in our lives and provides a low-compliance way of obtaining an activity profile of a person, now and over time.

Because people experiencing mania can be in denial of symptoms as part of the condition, the bipolar app provides shareable objective data, passively but accurately obtained, supporting a fact-based information with a trusted support person, which is in addition to clinicians. The app will helpall parties with realtime and trend data indicative of wellbeing. This supports communication, timely expression of love and care, and appropriate action. It also helps doctors get an unfiltered view of activity rhythms, by which treatments can be refined.

When will the app be available?

The first release of the app will work on Android mobile phones via a non-clinical trial. The trial will involve 400 people, or 200 pairs (includes the person with bipolar and their nominated support person) over a three-month period.

The trial will evaluate participants' real-world usage using human-centred design and research methods. The results will inform the next phases of the project, which includes a clinical trial to evaluate the app's use as a therapeutic tool.

The first full public version on Android and iOS phones is expected to be released to the Australian market sometime in 2018/19.

Sign-ups for the 2017 non-clinical trial have now closed. Check back here for future updates about the SANE Bipolar App.

Last updated: 17 August, 2017