How effective are depression self-help apps for serious mental illness?

According to a 2019 review paper published in the journal NPJ Digital Medicine, self help apps for mental health “showed potential but cannot be recommended based on the current level of evidence.” The review suggested that apps for depression are more effective if used in partnership with a clinician. Thus hybrid use is the recommended way to use apps today in care. Self-help apps can still be useful in helping patients learn and practice new therapy skills, remember to take medications, etc. The review did not examine apps for bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. Apps are frequently updating and new ones are being released.

To keep up to date with apps, you can learn more by viewing this webinar from SMI Adviser: Informed Decision Making for Picking SMI Smartphone Apps (February 2019).



Weisel, K.K., Fuhrmann, L.M., Berking, M. et al. Standalone smartphone apps for mental health—a systematic review and meta-analysis. npj Digit. Med. 2, 118 (2019) doi:10.1038/s41746-019-0188-8

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