mHealth in affective disorders: hype or hope? A focused narrative review

Int Clin Psychopharmacol. 2020 Mar;35(2):61-68. doi: 10.1097/YIC.0000000000000302.


The constant growth and widespread availability of mobile technologies (i.e. smartphones and wearables) over the last decades have been a subject of intense interest and research in the affective disorders (AD) field. The potential of mHealth for collecting a new kind of passive and active information while providing cost-effective and tailored interventions have raised many hopes. However, until now, despite some encouraging results, research in the field has not been translated to reach real-world clinical settings or to develop additional evidence-based mHealth tools for people suffering from AD. Meanwhile, commercial untested apps and wearables are already being increasingly used and adopted by patients for the self-management of their illnesses. Hence, there is a latent need and demand from service users to integrate mHealth in their care, which the field cannot yet fulfil. In this article, through a focused narrative review, we discuss the evidence available for the use, validity and efficacy of mHealth tools in AD. Challenges in the academic field hampering the advancement of these technologies and its implementation into clinical practice are discussed. Lastly, we propose a framework to overcome these issues, which may facilitate mHealth solutions reaching service users.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Hope*
  • Humans
  • Mood Disorders / therapy*
  • Narration
  • Smartphone
  • Telemedicine / methods*
  • Wearable Electronic Devices