Smartphone Applications For Mental Health

Research Summary | July 11, 2017

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Key Messages

  • As little research has been done to characterize the information available to users of mental health-related smartphone applications (apps), the authors performed a content analysis of descriptions of the first 20 apps encountered after searching 10 common mental health terms in Apple iTunes and Google Play stores. The following features were inferred from app descriptions:
    • More than half of the apps appeared to be aimed at either symptom relief (85 of 208 apps [41%]) or general mental health education (37 [18%]).
    • Relaxation and stress management were the most common approaches to improving mental health.
    • 59% of apps did not state a source of information supporting app use.
  • The authors concluded that most mental health-related smartphone apps were for symptom relief and contained approaches to improving mental health that may benefit only milder symptoms.

The following is a summary of Radovic A, Vona PL, Santostefano BA, et al. Smartphone applications for mental health. Cyberpsychol Behav Soc Netw. 2016;19:465–470, which was developed independently of the article authors. Background To date, little research has been conducted to assess the information available to users of mental health-related smartphone apps. Purpose The aim…

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