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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.

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Credibility

Overall Score: 3.95/5.00

Research base 1/3
Research support 2/2
Specificity of proposed intervention 2/3
Number of consumer ratings 3/3
Product advisory support 1/1
Software support 2/2

Total 11/14

date of rating:  August 2017


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User Experience

Objective Quality Score: 3.63/5.00

Subscale scores:
Engagement: 3.50
Functionality: 4.50
Aesthetics: 3.50
Information: 3.00

Subjective quality score: 2.00

Perceived impact score: 3.13

Rating date: November 2017
Rated by: Queensland University


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Transparency

Overall Score: Unacceptable

Overall Score: Unacceptable

Does the app have a privacy policy?:Yes
Does the privacy policy describe the information storage and sharing procedures related to user entered information, OR state that user information is stored locally?:Yes
Does the privacy policy state that the app/server encrypts/de-identifies the entered data OR state that user information is stored locally?:No/Can’t Tell
Does the app provide the option of a pin entry or log-in process to view and enter user data?:No/Can’t Tell
Does the privacy policy state whether or not users can use the app WITHOUT entering identifiable information, OR state that user information is stored locally?:Yes
Does the privacy policy state whether or not users can delete entered information OR state that user information is stored locally?:Yes
Does the privacy policy state whether or not users can edit entered information OR state that user information is stored locally?:Yes


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More Information

Available for: Mobile devices, Computers (via Koko’s specialized messenger, Facebook Messenger, Kik, Telegram, or Twitter)
Developer: Koko
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 provider: No
Languages Available in: English (Available in non-English languages where supported and available)
Where to get it: 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).”