Koko is a crowdsourced mental health app ideal for individuals struggling with depressive or mood disorders. The app allows anonymous users to connect with social networks to share concerns ranging from stress management skills to suicidal ideation. The application utilizes artificial intelligence learning to detect high-risk clients and scales up the type of source provided based on the level of distress. Koko starts out with a text-like conversation to better understand the user’s specific needs and goals, establishing that the forum serves as a safe space for individuals. The introductory modules also establish how the user can effectively support others through mock scenarios and replies. Koko allows the user to either get help after describing their most negative thoughts, or help others in need of support. The no-frills user interface allows for quick correspondence for individuals to gain support in a positive and collaborative environment.
Overall Score: Unacceptable
Does the app provide the option of a pin entry or log-in process to view and enter user data?: No/Can’t Tell
Available for: Mobile devices, Computers (via Koko’s specialized messenger, Facebook Messenger, Kik, Telegram, or Twitter)
Type of Treatment: Cognitive Behavioral Principles, Problem Solving Therapy
Targeted Conditions: Mood disorders, Depressive disorders
Target Audience: Adolescents, Young Adults
Designed to be used in conjunction with a healthcare professional: No
Languages Available: English (Available in non-English languages where supported and available)
Get it on: Online
Research on this App
Koko itself has not undergone formal research evaluation, however, it is based on a web-based platform, Panoply, which was evaluated in a general population. Initial evaluations of Panoply found benefits in reductions of depressive symptoms as well reductions in perseverative thinking and increases in cognitive appraisal which were the intended targets for the cognitive restructuring activities underlying Panoply (Morris, Schueller, & Picard, 2015).
Morris, R. R., Schueller, S. M., & Picard, R. W. (2015). Efficacy of a web-based, peer-to-peer cognitive reappraisal platform: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 17, e72.
“The Panoply platform produced significant improvements from pre to post for depression (P=.001), reappraisal (P<.001), and perseverative thinking (P<.001). The expressive writing platform yielded significant pre to post improvements for depression (P=.02) and perseverative thinking (P<.001), but not reappraisal (P=.45).”