|Health Factors:||Family & Social Support|
|Decision Makers:||Healthcare Professionals & Advocates Public Health Professionals & Advocates|
|Population Reach:||50-99% of WI's population|
|Impact on Disparities:|
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Cell phones, particularly smartphones, offer new opportunities to reach individuals in crisis and individuals with mental health concerns. Mobile phone applications (apps) can deliver a form of cognitive behavior therapy, link a user with a medical professional, or allow patients to regularly self-monitor their emotional state and easily share that information with a provider. Texting interventions range from crisis hotlines and warmlines that offer as needed and emergency support via text, to automated messages sent to individuals participating in longer term mental health interventions.
There is some evidence that cell phone-based support programs reduce depression, anxiety, and stress (Donker 2013). Additional evidence is needed to confirm effects and determine which interventions are most effective.
Several mental health mobile applications (apps) appear to improve mental health (Donker 2013). A mobile stress management app, for example, has been shown to decrease anxiety and increase coping skills for oncology nurses and female university students; this app is publicly available in Italian (Donker 2013). An emotion monitoring app may increase emotional self-awareness among adolescents (Reid 2011), indirectly reducing depression over time (Kauer 2012). An effective computer-based cognitive behavioral therapy program for depression appears to remain effective when converted to app format (Watts 2013).
However, research assessing effects of text message-based mental health interventions is limited. Surveys of adolescents and adults suggest that such interventions are acceptable to patients, as long as security and privacy considerations are addressed (Ranney 2014, Proudfoot 2010). A small pilot of a text message program for patients with alcohol use disorder and comorbid depression indicates that messages may help to improve mental health and provide motivation to remain sober (Agyapong 2013).
The number of services providing crisis intervention via text message is increasing across the country. Nevada’s Crisis Call Center was the first in the nation to provide text message crisis intervention services 24 hours a day (Crisis Call Center). California’s Suicide Prevention Initiative includes creation and expansion of web and text-based crisis hotlines and warmlines (RAND-Burnam 2014). Crisis Text Line provides support to teenagers across the country (Crisis Text Line).
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