Digital mental health lab

We are a small group aiming to improve mental health and equity by harnessing the power of digital tools and fostering collaboration in this space.

Whakataukī—Māori proverb

Ko te mauri, he mea huna ki te moana.

Powerful aspects of life are hidden in plain sight.

Why the Digital Mental Health Lab?

Mental health is a major concern in communities, with reported distress among adolescents doubling in the last ten years in Aotearoa and other English-speaking nations.1

There are many important government and community efforts to respond, however in the face of global workforce shortages and increasing demand, the ‘mental health treatment gap’ (the gap between demand for and supply of services) remains stubbornly high.

Digital offers tremendous opportunities to address this. Globally, millions of people download mental health or wellbeing apps every year and more than 10% of New Zealanders have accessed government-funded depression websites in the last year. There are many trials showing that computerised therapies can work as well as face to face models, including for indigenous and minority communities.2

However, many digital tools have poor uptake or retention in communities, and some may add to inequities, appealing more to those in already more privileged groups.2

What is the Digital Mental Health Lab about?

The Digital Mental Health Lab is a group of passionate researchers bringing together Māori health, community engagement, and digital health expertise.

As a Lab, we can provide advice and collaborate on digital mental health projects, research, and policy.

Contact us if you are interested in advice or collaboration. Some examples of entities we can work with include:

  • public organisations with a need for digital health expertise
  • local or international students wishing to do research in this area
  • persons within the University doing a digital health-related project

1.  For example, see: Rapid and unequal decline in adolescent mental health and well-being 2012-2019: Findings from New Zealand cross-sectional surveys or Indigenous adolescent health in Aotearoa New Zealand: Trends, policy and advancing equity for rangatahi Maori, 2001–2019.

2.  For detailed review see: Digital Tools for Mental Health and Wellbeing: Opportunities & Impact. Findings from the literature and community research.

Digital Mental Health Catalyst team

Co-leader (non-Māori)

Associate Professor · Co-leader Digital Mental Health Catalyst
School of Health

Co-leader (Māori)

Poukairangi Maori

Wellington Faculty of Health

Affiliates and postgraduate students

Postdoctoral Research Fellow · Co-Interim Programme Director
School of Education

 profile picture

Dan Archer

Co-designing a mobile health app to support the sleep health of university students. This exploratory research seeks to develop a new mobile health (mHealth) app to support the sleep experiences of tertiary students.

Melody Kim profile-picture photograph

Melody Kim

PhD Candidate
Clinical Psychology, The University of Auckland

"Waiting Well: Developing an innovative digital intervention for youth awaiting psychological treatment".