MyCompass is a web-based program intended to help users manage mild to moderate stress, anxiety, and/or depression. The self-help program contains a number of psychoeducational or skill-building modules derived from cognitive behavioral therapy, problem solving therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy, and positive psychology. Throughout these modules, users receive information about new techniques for managing moods and various exercises and activities they can apply. The program modules are mostly text-based. They are designed to be completed on a weekly basis/at the user’s pace and include homework tasks. On the side bar, modules are organized into core, recommended, and other sections drawing from users’ self-reports/preferences.
MyCompass includes a customizable tracking section that gathers self-reports of users’ current state – when creating a profile and when logging in – and provides immediate feedback. Users can choose what they want to track (e.g., thoughts and feelings: stress, depression, energy; health and lifestyle: sleep, overload, activity); set tracking reminders (e.g., sms/email); and receive reports to identify patterns based on what they have tracked. Additional features include mental health care tips; motivational snippets via SMS or email; and a section where people can share real-life experiences.
MyCompass is mostly suited to users dealing with mild to moderate anxiety and depression. The program provides high-quality content based on acceptable therapeutic methods, offering clear information and guidance to users. Brief assessments and feedback enable users to examine their current state in relation to previous assessments, reflecting changes in symptoms related to their mental state. At appropriate times, MyCompass encourages users to seek professional help outside the framework of the program. The short “snippets” function as reminders for users to conduct therapeutic activities between modules/during the week. On the downside, despite the excellent quality of its content, MyCompass does not seem to make the best use of the digital medium to create an engaging and user-friendly experience. The general appearance is unattractive, and the font size is too small. As for the engagement aspect, the program presents mostly text-based information and could benefit from utilizing other means of content presentation (e.g. video, narration), as well as more interactivity. Furthermore, since the target audience is those dealing with mild to moderate anxiety and depression, MyCompass could benefit from an active online support community to help focus and direct users and provide much needed just-in-time emotional support.
MyCompass can be used within a treatment setting for patients dealing with mild to moderate anxiety and depression who could benefit from an additional source of information and guidance between sessions. The clinician can help direct patients through module selection and help them to process their experience following home tasks.