New MU app aims to help patients with depression

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COLUMBIA - Patients suffering from depression can now track their daily moods with a new app created by a team from the University of Missouri.

The app is called MoodTrek, and it works like a electronic diary for patients with depression, which is how MU assistant psychiatry professor Ganesh Gopalakrishna, M.D., thought of the idea three years ago.

"I had a patient who was battling with depression and would write in a mood diary between our sessions," Gopalakrishna said. "His diary was really useful to me to understand how his progress was between two clinical visits."

Gopalakrishna along with the University of Missouri, Missouri University of Science and Technology and the Tiger Institute for Health developed the app in order to allow patients to log their moods and symptoms and share their progress with their doctors.

Most of the time patients visit their psychiatrists and psychologists every two to three months, which can make it difficult for the patients to recall how they were feeling during that period of time.

Gopalakrishna said patients tend to forget what their moods were like in weeks past.

"Most of the people have their cell phone or smart phone within their arms reach at any given time of the day," Gopalakrishna said. "I think making this available on the patients cell phone will make it create an ease of access. Instead of people carrying around a journal or a notebook it is much easier for someone to carry around a cell phone because it's part of everyone's life now."

The app contains five mood options a patient can choose for the day. Patients can also make a journal entry with the app, enter the amount of sleep they get, and sync it to their Fitbit if they have one.

MoodTrek is free and available for Android devices. MU plans to bring the app to Apple devices in the future.