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Use of mobile apps and technologies in child and adolescent mental health: a systematic review


Question This review will aim to critically evaluate the currently available literature concerning the use of online mobile-based applications and interventions in the detection, management and maintenance of children and young people’s mental health and well-being.

Study selection and analysis A systematic literature search of six electronic databases was conducted for relevant publications until May 2019, with keywords pertaining to mental health, well-being and problems, mobile or internet apps or interventions and age of the study population. The resulting titles were screened and the remaining 92 articles were assessed against the inclusion and exclusion criteria with a total of 4 studies included in the final review.

Findings In general, young people seem to engage very well with this type of tools, and they demonstrate some positive effects in emotional self-awareness. There have been some studies about this issue and many of the outcomes were notstatistically significant. However, it is still a sparsely documented area, and more research is needed in order to prove these effects.

Conclusions Mental health apps directed at young people have the potential to be important assessment, management and treatment tools, therefore creating easier access to health services, helping in the prevention of mental health issues and capacitating to self-help in case of need. However, a limited number of studies are currently available, and further assessments should be made in order to determine the outcomes of this type of interventions.

  • child and adolescent mental health
  • mobile health apps
  • electronic health
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