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JMIR Mhealth Uhealth ; 10(11): e41689, 2022 Nov 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2109576


BACKGROUND: During the COVID-19 pandemic, the general public was concerned about the mental health impacts of unemployment due to COVID-19 and the stress essential workers experienced during this time. Several reports indicated that people in distress were turning to digital technology, but there was little evidence about the impact of these tools on mitigating distress. OBJECTIVE: This study seeks to determine the acceptability, feasibility, usability, and effectiveness of mobile mental health apps for decreasing mental health symptoms in essential workers and unemployed individuals with suicide risk. METHODS: We recruited participants who indicated that they were unemployed because of COVID-19 or were COVID-19-designated essential workers. Participants were randomized to 1 of 4 free commercial mobile apps for managing distress that were (1) highly rated by PsyberGuide and (2) met the criteria for intervention features these participants indicated were desirable in a previous survey. Participants used the apps for 4 weeks and completed baseline and 4-week self-assessments of depression, anxiety emotional regulation, and suicide risk. RESULTS: We found no differences between the apps in any outcome but did find significant changes in depression and anxiety over time (Patient Health Questionnaire [PHQ]-9: estimate=-1.5, SE 0.2, 95% CI -1.1 to -1.8, P<.001; Generalized Anxiety Disorder Scale [GAD]-7: estimate=-1.3, SE 0.2, 95% CI -1.0 to -1.6, P<.001). We found no significant changes in suicidal behavior (Suicide Behaviors Questionnaire-Revised [SBQ-R]) or emotional regulation (Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale - Short Form [DERS-SF]) for the 4 weeks. We did find a significant dose-response pattern for changes in depression and anxiety. Using the app at least once a week resulted in greater improvements in treatment conditions over time on depression (estimate=-0.6, SE 0.2, 95% CI 1.0-0.2, P=.003) and anxiety (estimate=0.1, SE 0.2, 95% CI 0.4-0.6, P=.78). There was no association between app frequency and changes in suicidal behavior (SBQ-R) or emotional regulation (DERS-SF). We further found a significant difference between the conditions with regard to app usability, with the control app being the most usable (meanBeautiful Mood 72.9, SD 16.7; meanCOVID Coach 71.2, SD 15.4; meanCalm 66.8, SD 17.3; mean7 Cups 65.2, SD 17.7). We found no significant differences for app acceptability or appropriateness. CONCLUSIONS: Few studies have evaluated prospectively the utility and usability of commercial apps for mood. This study found that free, self-guided commercial mobile mental health apps are seen as usable, but no one app is superior to the other. Although we found that regular use is indicated for effects on depression and anxiety to occur in those who are more symptomatic, regression to the mean cannot be ruled out. TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT04536935;

COVID-19 , Mobile Applications , Humans , Mental Health , Unemployment , Pandemics
Contemp Clin Trials ; 123: 106966, 2022 Oct 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2075975


BACKGROUND: Despite their intrinsic strengths and resilience, some American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities experience among the highest rates of suicide of any racial and ethnic group. Caring Contacts is one of the only interventions shown to reduce suicide in clinical trials, but it has not been tested in AI/AN settings. OBJECTIVE: To compare the effectiveness of Enhanced Usual Care (control) to Enhanced Usual Care augmented with a culturally adapted version of Caring Contacts (intervention) for reducing suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, and suicide-related hospitalizations. METHODS: We are implementing a single blind randomized controlled trial of Caring Contacts in five AI/AN communities across the country (South Dakota, Montana, Oklahoma, and Alaska). Eligible participants have to be (1) actively suicidal or have made a suicide attempt within the past year; (2) at least 18 years of age; (3) AI/AN; (4) able to speak and read English; (5) able to participate voluntarily; (6) willing to be contacted by text, email or postal mail; and (7) able to provide consent. Following consent and baseline assessment, participants are randomized to receive either Enhanced Usual Care alone, or Enhanced Usual Care with 12 months (25 messages) of culturally adapted Caring Contacts. Follow-up assessments are conducted at 12 and 18 months. CONCLUSIONS: If effective, this study of Caring Contacts will inform programs to reduce suicide in the study communities as well as inform future research on Caring Contacts in other tribal settings. Modifications to continue the trial during the COVID-19 pandemic are discussed. CLINICAL TRIALS REGISTRATION: NCT02825771.