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Title: Clinical or gimmickal: The use and effectiveness of mobile mental health apps for treating anxiety and depression
Contributor(s): Marshall, Jamie M (author); Dunstan, Debra A  (author)orcid ; Bartik, Warren  (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2020-01
Early Online Version: 2019-09-25
DOI: 10.1177/0004867419876700
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Abstract: Objectives: The increase in ownership of smartphones and tablet devices has seen a worldwide government push, championed by the World Health Organization, towards digital healthcare services generally. Mental health has been a strong presence in the digitisation of healthcare because of the potential to solve some of the difficulties in accessing face-to-face services. This review summarises the recent history of e-mental health services and illuminates two very different paths. The first is the considerable amount of research that has proven the effectiveness of many online mental health programmes for personal computers and laptops, resulting in widespread acceptance of their ability to make a contribution in an individual’s recovery from anxiety and depression. The second is associated with the more recent development of apps for smartphones and tablet devices and the contrasting paucity of research that has accompanied this burgeoning area of e-mental health. This review also outlines the current state of play for research into the effectiveness of mobile mental health apps for anxiety and depression, including issues associated with methodology, and offers sources of practical advice for clinicians wanting more information about these new digital tools.
Conclusion: Research into the effectiveness of mental health apps is lacking, and the majority have no evidence of efficacy. Clinicians need to be aware of what apps have such evidence and should exercise caution when recommending apps to patients. Suggestions are offered on the direction of future research, including an appeal to further include clinicians in the development and efficacy testing of mental health apps.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 54(1), p. 20-28
Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd
Place of Publication: United Kingdom
ISSN: 1440-1614
Field of Research (FoR) 2008: 170106 Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology
Field of Research (FoR) 2020: 520302 Clinical psychology
520303 Counselling psychology
520304 Health psychology
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2008: 920410 Mental Health
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2020: 200409 Mental health
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
Appears in Collections:Journal Article
School of Health
School of Psychology

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