Feasibility of mHealth interventions for depressive symptoms in Latin America: a systematic review

Int Rev Psychiatry. 2021 May;33(3):300-311. doi: 10.1080/09540261.2021.1887822. Epub 2021 Jun 9.


Depression is a prevalent disorder and leading cause of disability in Latin America, where the mental health treatment gap is still above 50%. We sought to synthesise and assess the quality of the evidence on the feasibility of mHealth-based interventions for depression in Latin America. We conducted a literature search of studies published in 2007 and after using four electronic databases. We included peer-reviewed articles, in English, Spanish or Portuguese, that evaluated interventions for depressive symptoms. Two authors independently extracted data using forms developed a priori. We assessed appropriateness of reporting utilising the CONSORT checklist for feasibility trials. Eight manuscripts were included for full data extraction. Appropriate reporting varied greatly. Most (n = 6, 75%) of studies were conducted in primary care settings and sought to deliver psychoeducation or behaviour change interventions for depressive symptoms. We found great heterogeneity in the assessment of feasibility. Two studies used comparator conditions. mHealth research for depression in Latin America is scarce. Included studies showed some feasibility despite methodological inconsistencies. Given the dire need for evidence-based mental health interventions in this region, governments and stakeholders must continue promoting and funding research tailored to cultural and population characteristics with subsequent pragmatic clinical trials.

Keywords: Latin America; m-health; mental health; mobile; smartphones.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Depression / psychology*
  • Depression / therapy*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Humans
  • Latin America
  • Telemedicine*