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JMIR Form Res ; 6(9): e39813, 2022 Sep 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2054800


BACKGROUND: As the number of mental health apps has grown, increasing efforts have been focused on establishing quality tailored reviews. These reviews prioritize clinician and academic views rather than the views of those who use them, particularly those with lived experiences of mental health problems. Given that the COVID-19 pandemic has increased reliance on web-based and mobile mental health support, understanding the views of those with mental health conditions is of increasing importance. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to understand the opinions of people with mental health problems on mental health apps and how they differ from established ratings by professionals. METHODS: A mixed methods study was conducted using a web-based survey administered between December 2020 and April 2021, assessing 11 mental health apps. We recruited individuals who had experienced mental health problems to download and use 3 apps for 3 days and complete a survey. The survey consisted of the One Mind PsyberGuide Consumer Review Questionnaire and 2 items from the Mobile App Rating Scale (star and recommendation ratings from 1 to 5). The consumer review questionnaire contained a series of open-ended questions, which were thematically analyzed and using a predefined protocol, converted into binary (positive or negative) ratings, and compared with app ratings by professionals and star ratings from app stores. RESULTS: We found low agreement between the participants' and professionals' ratings. More than half of the app ratings showed disagreement between participants and professionals (198/372, 53.2%). Compared with participants, professionals gave the apps higher star ratings (3.58 vs 4.56) and were more likely to recommend the apps to others (3.44 vs 4.39). Participants' star ratings were weakly positively correlated with app store ratings (r=0.32, P=.01). Thematic analysis found 11 themes, including issues of user experience, ease of use and interactivity, privacy concerns, customization, and integration with daily life. Participants particularly valued certain aspects of mental health apps, which appear to be overlooked by professional reviewers. These included functions such as the ability to track and measure mental health and providing general mental health education. The cost of apps was among the most important factors for participants. Although this is already considered by professionals, this information is not always easily accessible. CONCLUSIONS: As reviews on app stores and by professionals differ from those by people with lived experiences of mental health problems, these alone are not sufficient to provide people with mental health problems with the information they desire when choosing a mental health app. App rating measures must include the perspectives of mental health service users to ensure ratings represent their priorities. Additional work should be done to incorporate the features most important to mental health service users into mental health apps.

J Med Internet Res ; 23(4): e26994, 2021 04 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1256255


BACKGROUND: Accompanying the rising rates of reported mental distress during the COVID-19 pandemic has been a reported increase in the use of digital technologies to manage health generally, and mental health more specifically. OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to systematically examine whether there was a COVID-19 pandemic-related increase in the self-reported use of digital mental health tools and other technologies to manage mental health. METHODS: We analyzed results from a survey of 5907 individuals in the United States using Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk); the survey was administered during 4 week-long periods in 2020 and survey respondents were from all 50 states and Washington DC. The first set of analyses employed two different logistic regression models to estimate the likelihood of having symptoms indicative of clinical depression and anxiety, respectively, as a function of the rate of COVID-19 cases per 10 people and survey time point. The second set employed seven different logistic regression models to estimate the likelihood of using seven different types of digital mental health tools and other technologies to manage one's mental health, as a function of symptoms indicative of clinical depression and anxiety, rate of COVID-19 cases per 10 people, and survey time point. These models also examined potential interactions between symptoms of clinical depression and anxiety, respectively, and rate of COVID-19 cases. All models controlled for respondent sociodemographic characteristics and state fixed effects. RESULTS: Higher COVID-19 case rates were associated with a significantly greater likelihood of reporting symptoms of depression (odds ratio [OR] 2.06, 95% CI 1.27-3.35), but not anxiety (OR 1.21, 95% CI 0.77-1.88). Survey time point, a proxy for time, was associated with a greater likelihood of reporting clinically meaningful symptoms of depression and anxiety (OR 1.19, 95% CI 1.12-1.27 and OR 1.12, 95% CI 1.05-1.19, respectively). Reported symptoms of depression and anxiety were associated with a greater likelihood of using each type of technology. Higher COVID-19 case rates were associated with a significantly greater likelihood of using mental health forums, websites, or apps (OR 2.70, 95% CI 1.49-4.88), and other health forums, websites, or apps (OR 2.60, 95% CI 1.55-4.34). Time was associated with increased odds of reported use of mental health forums, websites, or apps (OR 1.20, 95% CI 1.11-1.30), phone-based or text-based crisis lines (OR 1.20, 95% CI 1.10-1.31), and online, computer, or console gaming/video gaming (OR 1.12, 95% CI 1.05-1.19). Interactions between COVID-19 case rate and mental health symptoms were not significantly associated with any of the technology types. CONCLUSIONS: Findings suggested increased use of digital mental health tools and other technologies over time during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, additional effort is urgently needed to consider the quality of these products, either by ensuring users have access to evidence-based and evidence-informed technologies and/or by providing them with the skills to make informed decisions around their potential efficacy.

COVID-19/psychology , Mental Health Services/statistics & numerical data , Mental Health , Telemedicine/statistics & numerical data , Adult , COVID-19/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Male , Mental Disorders/therapy , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Surveys and Questionnaires , Technology , United States/epidemiology
J Pediatr Psychol ; 45(10): 1106-1113, 2020 11 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-873029


BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has ignited wider clinical adoption of digital health tools, including mobile health apps (mHealth apps), to address mental and behavioral health concerns at a distance. While mHealth apps offer many compelling benefits, identifying effective apps in the crowded and largely unregulated marketplace is laborious. Consumer demand and industry productivity are increasing, although research is slower, making it challenging for providers to determine the most credible and safe apps for patients in need. OBJECTIVES/METHODS: This commentary offers a practical, empirically guided framework and associated resources for selecting appropriate mHealth apps for pediatric populations during the pandemic and beyond. RESULTS: In the first stage, Narrow the target problem, end user, and contender apps. Beginning the search with continuously updated websites that contain expert app ratings can help expedite this process (e.g., Psyberguide). Second, Explore each contender app's: (a) scientific and theoretical support (e.g., are app components consistent with health behavior change theories?), (b) privacy policies, and (c) user experience (e.g., through crowdsourcing feedback about app usability and appeal via social media). Third, use clinical expertise and stakeholder feedback to Contextualize whether the selected app is a good fit for a particular patient and/or caregiver (e.g., by considering age, race/ethnicity, ability, gender, sexual orientation, technology access), including conducting a brief self-pilot of the app. CONCLUSION: Youth are increasingly turning to technology for support, especially during the pandemic, and pediatric psychologists must be primed to recommend the most credible tools. We offer additional recommendations for rapidly disseminating evidence-based apps to the public.

Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Mental Disorders/therapy , Mobile Applications/standards , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Quarantine/psychology , Telemedicine/methods , Adolescent , COVID-19 , Child , Coronavirus Infections/complications , Coronavirus Infections/psychology , Humans , Longitudinal Studies , Male , Mental Disorders/complications , Mental Disorders/psychology , Pneumonia, Viral/complications , Pneumonia, Viral/psychology , SARS-CoV-2