mHealth: a mechanism to deliver more accessible, more effective mental health care

Clin Psychol Psychother. 2014 Sep-Oct;21(5):427-36. doi: 10.1002/cpp.1855. Epub 2013 Aug 5.


The increased popularity and functionality of mobile devices has a number of implications for the delivery of mental health services. Effective use of mobile applications has the potential to (a) increase access to evidence-based care; (b) better inform consumers of care and more actively engage them in treatment; (c) increase the use of evidence-based practices; and (d) enhance care after formal treatment has concluded. The current paper presents an overview of the many potential uses of mobile applications as a means to facilitate ongoing care at various stages of treatment. Examples of current mobile applications in behavioural treatment and research are described, and the implications of such uses are discussed. Finally, we provide recommendations for methods to include mobile applications into current treatment and outline future directions for evaluation.

Key practitioner message: Mobile devices are becoming increasingly common among the adult population and have tremendous potential to advance clinical care. Mobile applications have the potential to enhance clinical care at stages of treatment-from engaging patients in clinical care to facilitating adherence to practices and in maintaining treatment gains. Research is needed to validate the efficacy and effectiveness of mobile applications in clinical practice. Research on such devices must incorporate assessments of usability and adherence in addition to their incremental benefit to treatment.

Keywords: access to care; mHealth; mobile phone; technology-based care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Phone*
  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / therapy*
  • Mental Health Services*
  • Telemedicine / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome