Mobile apps reduce depression, anxiety
Depression and anxiety symptoms significantly decreased after individuals utilized a suite of skills-focused mobile apps for 8 weeks.
“We designed these apps so they fit easily into people's lives and could be used as simply as apps to find a restaurant or directions,” David Mohr, PhD, of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, said in a press release.
To assess utility of the IntelliCare program, which consists of 13 clinical apps designed to improve depression and anxiety symptoms and the “Hub” app that coordinates user experience with the clinical apps, researchers evaluated 90 individuals with increased symptoms of depression and anxiety. Study participants had full access to all 14 apps on Google Play and received coaching on the use of IntelliCare, which consisted of an initial phone call plus two or more text messages per week for 8 weeks.
Participants used the apps for an average of 195 times during the study period. Average length of use was 1.1 minutes.
Ninety-five percent of the cohort downloaded five or more apps.
Further, depression (P < .0001) and anxiety (P < .0001) symptoms significantly decreased.
“Using digital tools for mental health is emerging as an important part of our future. These are designed to help the millions of people who want support but can't get to a therapist’s office,” Mohr said in the release. “We now have evidence these approaches will likely work. They are designed to teach many of the same skills therapists teach patients. Different apps are expected to work for different people. The goal is to find what's right for you.” – by Amanda Oldt
Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.