Background: Early intervention is important in order to improve mental health outcomes for young people. Given the recent rise in mobile phone ownership among adolescents, an innovative means of delivering such intervention is through the use of mobile phone applications (apps).
Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of "CopeSmart", a telemental health app developed to foster positive mental health in adolescents through emotional self-monitoring and the promotion of positive coping strategies.
Methods: Forty-three adolescents (88% female) aged 15-17 years downloaded the app and used it over a one-week period. They then completed self-report questionnaires containing both open-ended and closed-ended questions about their experiences of using the app. The app itself captured data related to user engagement.
Results: On average participants engaged with the app on 4 of the 7 days within the intervention period. Feedback from users was reasonably positive, with 70% of participants reporting that they would use the app again and 70% reporting that they would recommend it to a friend. Thematic analysis of qualitative data identified themes pertaining to users' experiences of the app, which were both positive (eg, easy to use, attractive layout, emotional self-monitoring, helpful information, notifications, unique) and negative (eg, content issues, did not make user feel better, mood rating issues, password entry, interface issues, engagement issues, technical fixes).
Conclusions: Overall findings suggest that telemental health apps have potential as a feasible medium for promoting positive mental health, with the majority of young people identifying such technologies as at least somewhat useful and displaying a moderate level of engagement with them. Future research should aim to evaluate the efficacy of such technologies as tools for improving mental health outcomes in young people.
Keywords: adolescents; emotional self-monitoring; feasibility; mobile apps; positive mental health.