Recent developments in the use of smartphone interventions for mental health

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Purpose of review

The purpose of this update is to provide an overview of the breadth of research studies published from April 2017 to April 2018 on mobile-based interventions for mental health, with a special emphasis on smartphone-based interventions.

Recent findings

Several studies during the review period have described the process of applying user-centred design in the development of mental health apps and novel approaches to enhance user-engagement. Studies on consumer perspectives indicate largely positive findings about open-ness to utilize mental health apps. There is a scarcity of similar studies on health providers. Efficacy studies have provided evidence for apps for a variety of psychiatric disorders. There are fewer studies on preventive and promotive interventions. Although a plethora of mental health apps is available for public, most have not undergone scientific evaluation. Many well researched apps are not accessible to public. The potential of smartphone technology in enhancing healthcare service delivery in low-resource settings has also been examined in a few studies.


Evidence for acceptability, feasibility and efficacy of mobile-based mental health interventions for facilitating recovery is on the rise. More research is needed on implementation and integration of these interventions in diverse real-world clinical and community contexts.

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