Developing mental health mobile apps: Exploring adolescents' perspectives

Health Informatics J. 2016 Jun;22(2):265-75. doi: 10.1177/1460458214555041. Epub 2014 Nov 10.


Mobile applications or 'apps' have significant potential for use in mental health interventions with adolescents. However, there is a lack of research exploring end users' needs from such technologies. The aim of this study was to explore adolescents' needs and concerns in relation to mental health mobile apps. Five focus groups were conducted with young people aged 15-16 years (N = 34, 60% male). Participants were asked about their views in relation to the use of mental health mobile technologies and were asked to give their responses to a mental health app prototype. Participants identified (1) safety, (2) engagement, (3) functionality, (4) social interaction, (5) awareness, (6) accessibility, (7) gender and (8) young people in control as important factors. Understanding end users' needs and concerns in relation to this topic will inform the future development of youth-oriented mental health apps that are acceptable to young people.

Keywords: adolescents; end users; focus groups; mental health; mobile apps.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cell Phone*
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health Services*
  • Mobile Applications / statistics & numerical data*
  • Telemedicine*
  • User-Computer Interface*