Journal: JMIR mental health
Engagement in activities that promote the dissipation of work stress is essential for post work recovery and consequently for well-being. Previous research suggests that activities that are immersive, active, and engaging are especially effective at promoting recovery. Therefore, digital games may be able to promote recovery, but little is known about how they compare with other popular mobile activities, such as mindfulness apps that are specifically designed to support well-being.
Web-based cognitive-behavioral therapeutic (CBT) apps have demonstrated efficacy but are characterized by poor adherence. Conversational agents may offer a convenient, engaging way of getting support at any time.
Improvements in software and design and reduction in cost have made virtual reality (VR) a practical tool for immersive, three-dimensional (3D), multisensory experiences that distract patients from painful stimuli.
mHealth interventions that use mobile phones as instruments for illness management are gaining popularity. Research examining mobile phone‒based mHealth programs for people with psychosis has shown that these approaches are feasible, acceptable, and clinically promising. However, most mHealth initiatives involving people with schizophrenia have spanned periods ranging from a few days to several weeks and have typically involved participants who were clinically stable.
Anxiety disorders and depression are frequent conditions in childhood and adolescence. eMental healthcare technologies may improve access to services, but their uptake within health systems is limited.
Social networking sites (SNSs) have become a pervasive part of modern culture, which may also affect mental health.
The number of mental health apps (MHapps) developed and now available to smartphone users has increased in recent years. MHapps and other technology-based solutions have the potential to play an important part in the future of mental health care; however, there is no single guide for the development of evidence-based MHapps. Many currently available MHapps lack features that would greatly improve their functionality, or include features that are not optimized. Furthermore, MHapp developers rarely conduct or publish trial-based experimental validation of their apps. Indeed, a previous systematic review revealed a complete lack of trial-based evidence for many of the hundreds of MHapps available.
As interest in and use of telehealth during the COVID-19 global pandemic increase, the potential of digital health to increase access and quality of mental health is becoming clear. Although the world today must “flatten the curve” of spread of the virus, we argue that now is the time to “accelerate and bend the curve” on digital health. Increased investments in digital health today will yield unprecedented access to high-quality mental health care. Focusing on personal experiences and projects from our diverse authorship team, we share selected examples of digital health innovations while acknowledging that no single piece can discuss all the impressive global efforts past and present. Exploring the success of telehealth during the present crisis and how technologies like apps can soon play a larger role, we discuss the need for workforce training, high-quality evidence, and digital equity among other factors critical for bending the curve further.
Positive affect journaling (PAJ), an emotion-focused self-regulation intervention, has been associated with positive outcomes among medical populations. It may be adapted for Web-based dissemination to address a need for scalable, evidence-based psychosocial interventions among distressed patients with medical conditions.
Virtual reality (VR) offers immersive, realistic, three-dimensional experiences that “transport” users to novel environments. Because VR is effective for acute pain and anxiety, it may have benefits for hospitalized patients; however, there are few reports using VR in this setting.