Mental health professionals' perceptions of mental health apps

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Labadie, Toni M.
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Education
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Faculty of Education
Smartphones continue to become integrated into every aspect of an individual’s life. There are currently applications (apps) for an extensive selection of sectors, including mental health. These mental health apps have the potential to play a major role in the future development of mental healthcare. Although mental health apps seem to be in abundance, it is unknown how mental healthcare professionals are employing these applications with their clients, and what they think about them. For this study, a cross-sectional survey design was used to collect information to describe 69 mental health professionals’ current perceptions regarding mental health apps. Results show that these mental health professionals primarily employ mental health apps for between-session support with clients dealing with depression, anxiety, and trauma, and they tend to utilise mindfulness and mediation-type apps. Participants generally favoured the possible accessibility that apps can provide, specifically surrounding portability and affordability. On the other hand, professionals’ lack of understanding of and training with apps, as well as privacy and confidentiality concerns, presented as perceived limitations. 47% of these mental health professionals believe that apps should be more incorporated into mental health care, with under 34% were unsure, and only 13.4% were against the idea. Finally, recommendations are provided for possible future research.
Mental health professionals , Mental healthcare , Mental health apps