How people with serious mental illness use smartphones, mobile apps, and social media

Psychiatr Rehabil J. 2016 Dec;39(4):364-367. doi: 10.1037/prj0000207. Epub 2016 Jun 16.


Objective: Research shows that people with serious mental illness are increasingly using mobile devices. Less is known about how these individuals use their mobile devices or whether they access social media. We surveyed individuals with serious mental illness to explore their use of these technologies.

Method: Individuals with serious mental illness engaged in lifestyle interventions through community mental health centers completed a survey about their use of mobile and online technologies. Responses were compared with data from the general population.

Results: Among respondents (n = 70), 93% owned cellphones, 78% used text messaging, 50% owned smartphones, and 71% used social media such as Facebook. Most respondents reported daily use of text messaging, mobile apps, and social media. Technology use was comparable to the general population, though smartphone ownership was lower.

Conclusions and implications for practice: These findings can inform future interventions that fully leverage this group's use of popular digital technologies. (PsycINFO Database Record

MeSH terms

  • Cell Phone
  • Community Mental Health Centers
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / psychology*
  • Mobile Applications*
  • Smartphone*
  • Social Media*