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Kiwi digital health company wins international acclaim

Melon Health has won an international award for its digital mental health programmes.

The Wellington-based company won the Best Tech Innovation award for Disrupting Mental Illness: Advancing Technologies, Improving Lives at the 30th annual Psych Congress in New Orleans this September.

The tech award was held for the first time in 2017 and attracted applications from the US and around the world. 

Five innovators were selected to ‘pitch’ to a panel of expert judges at the prestigious event.

Melon Health founder and chief executive Siobhan Bulfin presented on two of the company’s digital self-management programmes.

‘Code Blue’ is a mobile app that provides immediate support for teenagers struggling with bullying, anxiety or depression.

‘BetaMe, Emotional Wellness’ supports people with early to moderate mental illness and is already in use at two Primary Health Organisations across New Zealand.

The ‘BetaMe EW programme’ provides one-on-one coaching, a secure social network, health tracking, self-management modules and tools to help patients manage their emotional wellbeing.

Bulfin says, “It’s not just an app, but a digital self-management programme.

“It helps to fill the gap in care while waiting for a brief intervention or in between visits.”

“It also gives health providers complete visibility over their patients.”

The social network element is critical as it allows users to chat anonymously with other people living with mental illness in a safe environment, that is monitored by a mental health nurse.

Buffin continues, “That’s a really big unfulfilled need because a lot of providers are very nervous of facilitating peer support, which is probably the thing people most want.

“The award is validation for melon’s digital solutions and has opened doors in the US for the company, which already has offices in San Francisco and Atlanta, Georgia.”

New Zealand is suffering from a major mental illness epidemic and a lot of the time it is swept under the rug.

It is thus very refreshing to see a tech company doing their part to help solve the crisis and save lives.

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