Table 1

Study characteristics and findings

Author/YearStudy purposeResearch designInterventionMain findings
Jang et al 28 To examine the use of a smartphone app to screen for depression and suicide risk Design: cross-sectional study
Sample: 208 683 (age 10+ years)
Location: app available worldwide in Korean (so Korean speakers only)
Technology: Mobile app
Format: Participants completed self-assessment of depression and suicide using validated measures on app that vary, then analysed
Phone ownership: personal
Positive self-assessment scores on app were associated with significant increased risk of depression and suicide and were consistent with the population proportions seen in previously reported data
Johansson et al.26 To evaluate IVR as a method for collecting self-reported data following discharge from inpatient psychiatric care Design: RCT
Sample: 60 recent inpatients (age 13–17 years)
Comparison group: contacted every fourth day by IVR (compared with every second day)
Location: Sweden
Technology: automated telephone calls with IVR
Format: automated calls to mobile phones asked patients to evaluate their current mood
Phone ownership: mixed (personal mobile phones or borrowed from inpatient unit)
IVR is an appropriate follow-up method following inpatient psychiatric treatment in adolescents with no difference observed in mood if followed up every 2 days or every 4 days
Kauer et al.29
Reid et al.30
Reid et al.31
To examine
- the effect of an m.app-based self-monitoring tool on depressive symptoms
- the MH benefits of the m.app in the primary care setting
- the effectiveness of the m.app as a clinical assistance tool in general practice and to aid in the development of doctor–patient rapport and pathway to care decisions
Design: RCT
Sample: 114 patients
(age 14–24 years)
Comparison group: Self-monitoring using abbreviated version of mobile-type app
Location: Australia
Technology: Mobile app
Format: participants' self-reported data on mood, stress, daily activities and coping strategies which were available to their GP
Phone ownership: Research team (participant lent phone with preloaded app and given pre-paid SIM-card)
Self-monitoring of mood, stress and coping strategies significantly increased with more comprehensive monitoring causing greater increases.
Increased ESA was predictive of a decrease in depressive symptoms; however, the intervention was not causally responsible itself for the decrease in depressive symptoms
Intervention group showed significant increases in ESA. There were medium to large significant main effects for time for depression, anxiety and stress. Analysis suggested that participation in RCT itself enhanced mental healthcare and improved mental health outcomes
Mobile-type programme significantly assisted GPs in their clinical understanding and management of their patients but had no significant effect on doctor–patient rapport or pathways to care
Whittaker et al. 27 To evaluate the effectiveness of a CBT-based depression prevention intervention delivered via multimedia mobile phone messages Design: RCT
Sample: 855 students (age 13–17 years)
Comparison group: received placebo messages without CBT-based information
Location: New Zealand
Technology: Mobile phones-based multimedia messages
Format: Programme sent CBT-based multimedia messages (texts, video messages, cartoons)
Phone ownership: personal
No significant effect of CBT-based programme over control. Both programmes demonstrated small improvements in depression score immediately after the intervention followed by a worsening of scores at 12 months follow-up
  • CBT, cognitive behaviour therapy; ESA; Emotional Self Awareness (scale); GP, general practitioner; IVR, interactive voice response; RCT, randomised controlled trial.