JMIR Publications

JMIR Mental Health

Internet interventions, technologies and digital innovations for mental health and behaviour change

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Journal Description

JMIR Mental Health (JMH, ISSN 2368-7959) is a PubMed-indexed, peer-reviewed sister journal of JMIR, the leading eHealth journal (Impact Factor 2015: 4.532). 

JMIR Mental Health focusses on digital health and Internet interventions, technologies and electronic innovations (software and hardware) for mental health, addictions, online counselling and behaviour change. This includes formative evaluation and system descriptions, theoretical papers, review papers, viewpoint/vision papers, and rigorous evaluations.

JMIR Mental Health publishes even faster and has a broader scope with including papers which are more technical or more formative/developmental than what would be published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research

JMIR Mental Health features a rapid and thorough peer-review process, professional copyediting, professional production of PDF, XHTML, and XML proofs. The journal is indexed in PubMed, PubMed Central, and ESCI (Emerging Sources Citation Index).

JMIR Mental Health adheres to the same quality standards as JMIR and all articles published here are also cross-listed in the Table of Contents of JMIR, the worlds' leading medical journal in health sciences / health services research and health informatics.

Editorial Board members are currently being recruited, please contact us if you are interested (jmir.editorial.office at gmail.com).

 

Recent Articles:

  • Source: King's Image Library; Copyright: King's College London; URL: http://www.kcl.ac.uk/library/archivespec/celum/index.aspx; License: Licensed by the authors.

    A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of e-Mental Health Interventions to Treat Symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress

    Abstract:

    Background: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a stress disorder characterized by unwanted intrusive re-experiencing of an acutely distressing, often life-threatening, event, combined with symptoms of hyperarousal, avoidance, as well as negative thoughts and feelings. Evidence-based psychological interventions have been developed to treat these symptoms and reduce distress, the majority of which were designed to be delivered face-to-face with trained therapists. However, new developments in the use of technology to supplement and extend health care have led to the creation of e-Mental Health interventions. Objective: Our aim was to assess the scope and efficacy of e-Mental Health interventions to treat symptoms of PTSD. Methods: The following databases were systematically searched to identify randomized controlled trials of e-Mental Health interventions to treat symptoms of PTSD as measured by standardized and validated scales: the Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, EMBASE, and PsycINFO (in March 2015 and repeated in November 2016). Results: A total of 39 studies were found during the systematic review, and 33 (N=3832) were eligible for meta-analysis. The results of the primary meta-analysis revealed a significant improvement in PTSD symptoms, in favor of the active intervention group (standardized mean difference=-0.35, 95% confidence interval -0.45 to -0.25, P<.001, I2=81%). Several sensitivity and subgroup analyses were performed suggesting that improvements in PTSD symptoms remained in favor of the active intervention group independent of the comparison condition, the type of cognitive behavioral therapy-based intervention, and the level of guidance provided. Conclusions: This review demonstrates an emerging evidence base supporting e-Mental Health to treat symptoms of PTSD.

  • Completing a survey. Source: The Authors; Copyright: John R. Walker; URL: http://mental.jmir.org/2017/2/e13/; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Gathering Opinions on Depression Information Needs and Preferences: Samples and Opinions in Clinic Versus Web-Based Surveys

    Abstract:

    Background: There has been limited research on the information needs and preferences of the public concerning treatment for depression. Very little research is available comparing samples and opinions when recruitment for surveys is done over the Web as opposed to a personal invitation to complete a paper survey. Objective: This study aimed to (1) to explore information needs and preferences among members of the public and (2) compare Clinic and Web samples on sample characteristics and survey findings. Methods: Web survey participants were recruited with a notice on three self-help association websites (N=280). Clinic survey participants were recruited by a research assistant in the waiting rooms of a family medicine clinic and a walk-in medical clinic (N=238) and completed a paper version of the survey. Results: The Clinic and Web samples were similar in age (39.0 years, SD 13.9 vs 40.2 years, SD 12.5, respectively), education, and proportion in full time employment. The Clinic sample was more diverse in demographic characteristics and closer to the demographic characteristics of the region (Winnipeg, Canada) with a higher proportion of males (102/238 [42.9%] vs 45/280 [16.1%]) and nonwhites (Aboriginal, Asian, and black) (69/238 [29.0%] vs 39/280 [13.9%]). The Web sample reported a higher level of emotional distress and had more previous psychological (224/280 [80.0%] vs 83/238 [34.9%]) and pharmacological (202/280 [72.1%] vs 57/238 [23.9%]) treatment. In terms of opinions, most respondents in both settings saw information on a wide range of topics around depression treatment as very important including information about treatment choices, effectiveness of treatment, how long it takes treatment to work, how long treatment continues, what happens when treatment stops, advantages and disadvantages of treatments, and potential side effects. Females, respondents with a white background, and those who had received or felt they would have benefited from therapy in the past saw more information topics as very important. Those who had received or thought they would have benefited in the past from medication treatment saw fewer topics as important. Participants in both groups expressed an interest in receiving information through discussion with a counselor or a physician, through written brochures, or through a recommended website. Conclusions: The recruitment strategies were helpful in obtaining opinions from members of the public with different concerns and perspectives, and the results from the two methods were complementary. Persons coping with emotional distress and individuals not specifically seeking help for depression would be interested in information to answer a wide range of important questions about depression treatment. The Clinic sample yielded more cultural diversity that is a closer match to the population. The Web sample was less costly to recruit and included persons who were most interested in receiving information.

  • Copyright: The Authors; License: Image created by the authors.

    A Mixed-Methods Study Using a Nonclinical Sample to Measure Feasibility of Ostrich Community: A Web-Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Program for...

    Abstract:

    Background: There are increasing concerns about the health and well-being of individuals facing financial troubles. For instance, in the United Kingdom, the relationship between debt and mental health difficulties is becoming more evident due to the economic downturn and welfare reform. Access to debt counseling services is limited and individuals may be reluctant to access services due to stigma. In addition, most of these services may not be appropriately resourced to address the psychological impact of debt. This study describes outcomes from an Internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy (ICBT) program, Ostrich Community (OC), which was developed to provide support to those struggling with debt and associated psychological distress. Objective: The aim of this feasibility study was to assess the suitability and acceptability of the OC program in a nonclinical sample and examine mental health and well-being outcomes from using the program. Methods: A total of 15 participants (who were not suffering from severe financial difficulty) were assisted in working through the 8-week ICBT program. Participants rated usability and satisfaction with the program, and after completion 7 participants took part in a semistructured interview to provide further feedback. Before the first session and after the final session all participants completed questionnaires to measure well-being and levels of depression, stress, and anxiety and pre- and postscores were compared. Results: Satisfaction was high and themes emerging from the interviews indicate that the program has the potential to promote effective financial behaviors and improve financial and global psychosocial well-being. When postcompletion scores were compared with those taken before the program, significant improvements were identified on psychometric measures of well-being, stress, and anxiety. Conclusions: The OC program is the first ICBT program that targets poor mental health associated with financial difficulty. This feasibility study indicates that OC may be an effective intervention for increasing financial resilience, supporting individuals to become financially independent, and promoting positive financial and global well-being. Further work with individuals suffering from debt and associated emotional difficulties will help to examine clinical effectiveness more closely.

  • Source: Startup Stock Photos; URL: http://startupstockphotos.com/post/123128099291/at-barrel-soho-nyc; License: Public Domain (CC0).

    Public Acceptability of E-Mental Health Treatment Services for Psychological Problems: A Scoping Review

    Abstract:

    Background: Over the past decades, the deficient provision of evidence-based interventions for the prevention and treatment of mental health problems has become a global challenge across health care systems. In view of the ongoing diffusion of new media and mobile technologies into everyday life, Web-delivered electronic mental health (e-mental health) treatment services have been suggested to expand the access to professional help. However, the large-scale dissemination and adoption of innovative e-mental health services is progressing slowly. This discrepancy between potential and actual impact in public health makes it essential to explore public acceptability of e-mental health treatment services across health care systems. Objective: This scoping review aimed to identify and evaluate recent empirical evidence for public acceptability, service preferences, and attitudes toward e-mental health treatments. On the basis of both frameworks for technology adoption and previous research, we defined (1) perceived helpfulness and (2) intentions to use e-mental health treatment services as indicators for public acceptability in the respective general population of reviewed studies. This mapping should reduce heterogeneity and help derive implications for systematic reviews and public health strategies. Methods: We systematically searched electronic databases (MEDLINE/PubMed, PsycINFO, Psyndex, PsycARTICLES, and Cochrane Library, using reference management software for parallel searches) to identify surveys published in English in peer-reviewed journals between January 2010 and December 2015, focusing on public perceptions about e-mental health treatments outside the context of clinical, psychosocial, or diagnostic interventions. Both indicators were obtained from previous review. Exclusion criteria further involved studies targeting specific groups or programs. Results: The simultaneous database search identified 76 nonduplicate records. Four articles from Europe and Australia were included in this scoping review. Sample sizes ranged from 217 to 2411 participants of ages 14-95 years. All included studies used cross-sectional designs and self-developed measures for outcomes related to both defined indicators of public acceptability. Three surveys used observational study designs, whereas one study was conducted as an experiment investigating the impact of brief educational information on attitudes. Taken together, the findings of included surveys suggested that e-mental health treatment services were perceived as less helpful than traditional face-to-face interventions. Additionally, intentions to future use e-mental health treatments were overall smaller in comparison to face-to-face services. Professional support was essential for help-seeking intentions in case of psychological distress. Therapist-assisted e-mental health services were preferred over unguided programs. Unexpectedly, assumed associations between familiarity with Web-based self-help for health purposes or “e-awareness” and intentions to use e-mental health services were weak or inconsistent. Conclusions: Considering the marginal amount and heterogeneity of pilot studies focusing on public acceptability of e-mental health treatments, further research using theory-led approaches and validated measures is required to understand psychological facilitator and barriers for the implementation of innovative services into health care.

  • Source: iStock by Getty Images; Copyright: rvlsoft; URL: http://www.istockphoto.com/photo/woman-blue-eye-looking-at-a-digital-virtual-screen-gm185913585-27398751; License: Licensed by the authors.

    Internet Addiction Through the Phase of Adolescence: A Questionnaire Study

    Abstract:

    Background: Adolescents increasingly use the Internet for communication, education, entertainment, and other purposes in varying degrees. Given their vulnerable age, they may be prone to Internet addiction. Objective: Our aim was to identify possible differences in the purpose of Internet use among adolescents with respect to age subgroup, country of residence, and gender and the distribution of Internet addiction across age subgroups. Another aim was to determine if there is a correlation between the purpose of Internet use and age and if this interaction influences the level of addiction to the Internet. Methods: The study included a simple random sample of 1078 adolescents—534 boys and 525 girls—aged 11-18 years attending elementary and grammar schools in Croatia, Finland, and Poland. Adolescents were asked to complete an anonymous questionnaire and provide data on age, gender, country of residence, and purpose of Internet use (ie, school/work or entertainment). Collected data were analyzed with the chi-square test for correlations. Results: Adolescents mostly used the Internet for entertainment (905/1078, 84.00%). More female than male adolescents used it for school/work (105/525, 20.0% vs 64/534, 12.0%, respectively). Internet for the purpose of school/work was mostly used by Polish adolescents (71/296, 24.0%), followed by Croatian (78/486, 16.0%) and Finnish (24/296, 8.0%) adolescents. The level of Internet addiction was the highest among the 15-16-year-old age subgroup and was lowest in the 11-12-year-old age subgroup. There was a weak but positive correlation between Internet addiction and age subgroup (P=.004). Male adolescents mostly contributed to the correlation between the age subgroup and level of addiction to the Internet (P=.001). Conclusions: Adolescents aged 15-16 years, especially male adolescents, are the most prone to the development of Internet addiction, whereas adolescents aged 11-12 years show the lowest level of Internet addiction.

  • Virtual Reality for Management of Pain in Hospitalized Patients. Patient using Samsung Gear headset. License: Permission acquired by the authors..

    Virtual Reality for Management of Pain in Hospitalized Patients: Results of a Controlled Trial

    Abstract:

    Background: Improvements in software and design and reduction in cost have made virtual reality (VR) a practical tool for immersive, three-dimensional (3D), multisensory experiences that distract patients from painful stimuli. Objective: The objective of the study was to measure the impact of a onetime 3D VR intervention versus a two-dimensional (2D) distraction video for pain in hospitalized patients. Methods: We conducted a comparative cohort study in a large, urban teaching hospital in medical inpatients with an average pain score of ≥3/10 from any cause. Patients with nausea, vomiting, dementia, motion sickness, stroke, seizure, and epilepsy and those placed in isolation were excluded. Patients in the intervention cohort viewed a 3D VR experience designed to reduce pain using the Samsung Gear Oculus VR headset; control patients viewed a high-definition, 2D nature video on a 14-inch bedside screen. Pre- and postintervention pain scores were recorded. Difference-in-difference scores and the proportion achieving a half standard deviation pain response were compared between groups. Results: There were 50 subjects per cohort (N=100). The mean pain reduction in the VR cohort was greater than in controls (−1.3 vs −0.6 points, respectively; P=.008). A total of 35 (65%) patients in the VR cohort achieved a pain response versus 40% of controls (P=.01; number needed to treat=4). No adverse events were reported from VR. Conclusions: Use of VR in hospitalized patients significantly reduces pain versus a control distraction condition. These results indicate that VR is an effective and safe adjunctive therapy for pain management in the acute inpatient setting; future randomized trials should confirm benefit with different visualizations and exposure periods. Trial Registration: Clinicaltrials.gov NCT02456987; https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02456987 (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/6pJ1P644S)

  • Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

    Current Views and Perspectives on E-Mental Health: An Exploratory Survey Study for Understanding Public Attitudes Toward Internet-Based Psychotherapy in Germany

    Abstract:

    Background: Despite the advanced development of evidence-based psychological treatment services, help-seeking persons with mental health problems often fail to receive appropriate professional help. Internet-delivered psychotherapy has thus been suggested as an efficient strategy to overcome barriers to access mental health care on a large scale. However, previous research indicated poor public acceptability as an issue for the dissemination of Internet-delivered therapies. Currently, little is known about the expectations and attitudes toward Internet-delivered therapies in the general population. This is especially the case for countries such as Germany where electronic mental health (e-mental health) treatment services are planned to be implemented in routine care. Objective: This pilot study aimed to determine the expectations and attitudes toward Internet-based psychotherapy in the general population in Germany. Furthermore, it aimed to explore the associations between attitudes toward Internet-based therapies and perceived stress. Methods: To assess public attitudes toward Internet-based psychotherapy, we conducted both Web-based and paper-and-pencil surveys using a self-developed 14-item questionnaire (Cronbach alpha=.89). Psychological distress was measured by employing a visual analogue scale (VAS) and the 20-item German version of the Perceived Stress Questionnaire (PSQ). In addition, we conducted explorative factor analysis (principal axis factor analysis with promax rotation). Spearman’s rank correlations were used to determine the associations between attitudes toward Internet-based therapies and perceived stress. Results: Descriptive analyses revealed that most respondents (N=1558; female: 78.95%, 1230/1558) indicated being not aware of the existence of Internet-delivered therapies (83.46%, 1141/1367). The average age was 32 years (standard deviation, SD 10.9; range 16-76). Through exploratory factor analysis, we identified 3 dimensions of public attitudes toward Internet-based therapies, which we labeled “usefulness or helpfulness,” “relative advantage or comparability,” and “accessibility or access to health care.” Analyses revealed negative views about Internet-based therapies on most domains, such as perceived helpfulness. The study findings further indicated ambivalent attitudes: Although most respondents agreed to statements on expected improvements in health care (eg, expanded access), we observed low intentions to future use of Internet-delivered therapies in case of mental health problems. Conclusions: This pilot study showed deficient “e-awareness” and rather negative or ambivalent attitudes toward Internet-delivered therapies in the German-speaking general population. However, research targeting determinants of the large-scale adoption of Internet-based psychotherapy is still in its infancy. Thus, further research is required to explore the “black box” of public attitudes toward Internet-delivered therapies with representative samples, validated measures, and longitudinal survey designs.

  • TOC image.
http://www.istockphoto.com/nl/photo/test-anxiety-gm172375191-4526111
© 2017 iStockphoto LP. The iStock design is a trademark of iStockphoto LP.

    Applying Computerized Adaptive Testing to the Four-Dimensional Symptom Questionnaire (4DSQ): A Simulation Study

    Abstract:

    Background: Efficient screening questionnaires are useful in general practice. Computerized adaptive testing (CAT) is a method to improve the efficiency of questionnaires, as only the items that are particularly informative for a certain responder are dynamically selected. Objective: The objective of this study was to test whether CAT could improve the efficiency of the Four-Dimensional Symptom Questionnaire (4DSQ), a frequently used self-report questionnaire designed to assess common psychosocial problems in general practice. Methods: A simulation study was conducted using a sample of Dutch patients visiting a general practitioner (GP) with psychological problems (n=379). Responders completed a paper-and-pencil version of the 50-item 4DSQ and a psychometric evaluation was performed to check if the data agreed with item response theory (IRT) assumptions. Next, a CAT simulation was performed for each of the four 4DSQ scales (distress, depression, anxiety, and somatization), based on the given responses as if they had been collected through CAT. The following two stopping rules were applied for the administration of items: (1) stop if measurement precision is below a predefined level, or (2) stop if more than half of the items of the subscale are administered. Results: In general, the items of each of the four scales agreed with IRT assumptions. Application of the first stopping rule reduced the length of the questionnaire by 38% (from 50 to 31 items on average). When the second stopping rule was also applied, the total number of items could be reduced by 56% (from 50 to 22 items on average). Conclusions: CAT seems useful for improving the efficiency of the 4DSQ by 56% without losing a considerable amount of measurement precision. The CAT version of the 4DSQ may be useful as part of an online assessment to investigate the severity of mental health problems of patients visiting a GP. This simulation study is the first step needed for the development a CAT version of the 4DSQ. A CAT version of the 4DSQ could be of high value for Dutch GPs since increasing numbers of patients with mental health problems are visiting the general practice. In further research, the results of a real-time CAT should be compared with the results of the administration of the full scale.

  • Image Source: the authors, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.

    Use of Online Forums for Perinatal Mental Illness, Stigma, and Disclosure: An Exploratory Model

    Abstract:

    Background: Perinatal mental illness is a global health concern; however, many women with the illness do not get the treatment they need to recover. Interventions that reduce the stigma around perinatal mental illness have the potential to enable women to disclose their symptoms to health care providers and consequently access treatment. There are many online forums for perinatal mental illness and thousands of women use them. Preliminary research suggests that online forums may promote help-seeking behavior, potentially because they have a role in challenging stigma. This study draws from these findings and theoretical concepts to present a model of forum use, stigma, and disclosure. Objective: This study tested a model that measured the mediating role of stigma between online forum use and disclosure of affective symptoms to health care providers. Methods: A Web-based survey of 200 women who were pregnant or had a child younger than 5 years and considered themselves to be experiencing psychological distress was conducted. Women were recruited through social media and questions measured forum usage, perinatal mental illness stigma, disclosure to health care providers, depression and anxiety symptoms, barriers to disclosure, and demographic information. Results: There was a significant positive indirect effect of length of forum use on disclosure of symptoms through internal stigma, b=0.40, bias-corrected and accelerated (BCa) 95% CI 0.13-0.85. Long-term forum users reported higher levels of internal stigma, and higher internal stigma was associated with disclosure of symptoms to health care providers when controlling for symptoms of depression and anxiety. Conclusions: Internal stigma mediates the relationship between length of forum use and disclosure to health care providers. Findings suggest that forums have the potential to enable women to recognize and reveal their internal stigma, which may in turn lead to greater disclosure of symptoms to health care providers. Clinicians could refer clients to trustworthy and moderated online forums that facilitate expression of perinatal mental illness stigma and promote disclosure to health care providers.

  • The Use of Facebook for Social Skills Training in Autism. URL: https://www.facebook.com/Project-Rex-MUSC-Autism-Spectrum-106695489364545/. Image sourced and copyright owned by authors.

    Social Skills Training for Adolescents With Autism Spectrum Disorder Using Facebook (Project Rex Connect): A Survey Study

    Abstract:

    Background: Adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) spend more time using electronic screen media than neurotypical peers; preliminary evidence suggests that computer-assisted or Web-based interventions may be beneficial for social skills acquisition. The current generation of adolescents accesses the Internet through computers or phones almost daily, and Facebook is the most frequently used social media platform among teenagers. This is the first research study to explore the use of Facebook as a therapeutic tool for adolescents with ASD. Objective: To study the feasibility and clinical impact of using a Web-based social platform in combination with social skills training for adolescents with ASD. Methods: This pilot study enrolled 6 participants (all males; mean age 14.1 years) in an online social skills training group using Facebook. Data was collected on the participants’ social and behavioral functioning at the start and conclusion of the intervention. Outcome measures included the Social Responsiveness Scale-2, the Social Skills Improvement System Rating Scale, and the Project Rex Parent Survey. Participants were surveyed at the conclusion of the intervention regarding their experience. Results: No statistically significant differences in measurable outcomes were observed. However, the online addition of Facebook was well received by participants and their parents. The Facebook intervention was able to be executed with a careful privacy protocol in place and at minimal safety risk to participants. Conclusions: The utilization of Facebook to facilitate delivery of social skills training for adolescents with ASD appears to be feasible, although the clinical impact of such an addition is still unclear. It is important to note that social difficulties of participants persisted with the addition of the online platform and participants still required assistance to engage with peers in an online environment. A Web-based intervention such as the one utilized in this study has the potential to reach a mass number of patients with ASD and could address disparities in access to in-person treatment services. However, the complexity and evolving nature of Facebook’s website and privacy settings leads to a number of unique online safety concerns that may limit its clinical utility. Issues encountered in our study support the development of an alternative and closed Web-based social platform designed specifically for the target audience with ASD; this platform could be a safer and more easily moderated setting for aiding in social skills development. Despite a small sample size with no statistically significant improvements of target symptoms, the use of electronic screen media as a therapeutic tool for adolescents with ASD is still a promising area of research warranting further investigation. Our study helps inform future obstacles regarding feasibility and safety.

  • Peer counseling interaction depicted using characters from the Crowdsourcing Mental Health course. Drawn by Felicia Romano for the authors. Copyright retained by the artist.

    A Web-Disseminated Self-Help and Peer Support Program Could Fill Gaps in Mental Health Care: Lessons From a Consumer Survey

    Abstract:

    Background: Self-guided mental health interventions that are disseminated via the Web have the potential to circumvent barriers to treatment and improve public mental health. However, self-guided interventions often fail to attract consumers and suffer from user nonadherence. Uptake of novel interventions could be improved by consulting consumers from the beginning of the development process in order to assess their interest and their preferences. Interventions can then be tailored using this feedback to optimize appeal. Objective: The aim of our study was to determine the level of public interest in a new mental health intervention that incorporates elements of self-help and peer counseling and that is disseminated via a Web-based training course; to identify predictors of interest in the program; and to identify consumer preferences for features of Web-based courses and peer support programs. Methods: We surveyed consumers via Amazon’s Mechanical Turk to estimate interest in the self-help and peer support program. We assessed associations between demographic and clinical characteristics and interest in the program, and we obtained feedback on desired features of the program. Results: Overall, 63.9% (378/592) of respondents said that they would try the program; interest was lower but still substantial among those who were not willing or able to access traditional mental health services. Female gender, lower income, and openness to using psychotherapy were the most consistent predictors of interest in the program. The majority of respondents, although not all, preferred romantic partners or close friends as peer counselors and would be most likely to access the program if the training course were accessed on a stand-alone website. In general, respondents valued training in active listening skills. Conclusions: In light of the apparent public interest in this program, Web-disseminated self-help and peer support interventions have enormous potential to fill gaps in mental health care. The results of this survey can be used to inform the design of such interventions.

  • Doctor With Tablet. Image source: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=164023&picture=doctor-with-tablet. Author: George Hodan. Copyright: Public Domain.

    Tips and Traps: Lessons From Codesigning a Clinician E-Monitoring Tool for Computerized Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

    Abstract:

    Background: Computerized cognitive behavioral therapy (cCBT) is an acceptable and promising treatment modality for adolescents with mild-to-moderate depression. Many cCBT programs are standalone packages with no way for clinicians to monitor progress or outcomes. We sought to develop an electronic monitoring (e-monitoring) tool in consultation with clinicians and adolescents to allow clinicians to monitor mood, risk, and treatment adherence of adolescents completing a cCBT program called SPARX (Smart, Positive, Active, Realistic, X-factor thoughts). Objective: The objectives of our study were as follows: (1) assess clinicians’ and adolescents’ views on using an e-monitoring tool and to use this information to help shape the development of the tool and (2) assess clinician experiences with a fully developed version of the tool that was implemented in their clinical service. Methods: A descriptive qualitative study using semistructured focus groups was conducted in New Zealand. In total, 7 focus groups included clinicians (n=50) who worked in primary care, and 3 separate groups included adolescents (n=29). Clinicians were general practitioners (GPs), school guidance counselors, clinical psychologists, youth workers, and nurses. Adolescents were recruited from health services and a high school. Focus groups were run to enable feedback at 3 phases that corresponded to the consultation, development, and postimplementation stages. Thematic analysis was applied to transcribed responses. Results: Focus groups during the consultation and development phases revealed the need for a simple e-monitoring registration process with guides for end users. Common concerns were raised in relation to clinical burden, monitoring risk (and effects on the therapeutic relationship), alongside confidentiality or privacy and technical considerations. Adolescents did not want to use their social media login credentials for e-monitoring, as they valued their privacy. However, adolescents did want information on seeking help and personalized monitoring and communication arrangements. Postimplementation, clinicians who had used the tool in practice revealed no adverse impact on the therapeutic relationship, and adolescents were not concerned about being e-monitored. Clinicians did need additional time to monitor adolescents, and the e-monitoring tool was used in a different way than was originally anticipated. Also, it was suggested that the registration process could be further streamlined and integrated with existing clinical data management systems, and the use of clinician alerts could be expanded beyond the scope of simply flagging adolescents of concern. Conclusions: An e-monitoring tool was developed in consultation with clinicians and adolescents. However, the study revealed the complexity of implementing the tool in clinical practice. Of salience were privacy, parallel monitoring systems, integration with existing electronic medical record systems, customization of the e-monitor, and preagreed monitoring arrangements between clinicians and adolescents.

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  • Stopping antidepressants and anxiolytics as Major concerns reported in Online Health Communities – A text-mining approach

    Date Submitted: Mar 31, 2017

    Open Peer Review Period: Apr 3, 2017 - May 29, 2017

    Background: Internet is a particularly dynamic way to quickly capture the perceptions of a population in real time. Complementary to traditional face-to-face communication, online social networks help...

    Background: Internet is a particularly dynamic way to quickly capture the perceptions of a population in real time. Complementary to traditional face-to-face communication, online social networks help patients to improve self-esteem and self-help. Objective: The aim of this study was to use text mining on material from an online forum exploring patients’ concerns about treatment (antidepressants and anxiolytics). Methods: Concerns about treatment were collected from discussion titles in patients' online Community related to antidepressants and anxiolytics. To examine the content of these titles automatically, we used text-mining methods: word frequency in a document-term matrix, and co-occurrence of words using a network analysis. It was thus possible to identify topics discussed on the forum. Results: The forum included 2415 discussions on antidepressants and anxiolytics over a period of 3 years. After a preprocessing step, the text mining algorithm identified the 99 most frequently-occurring words in titles, among which were escitalopram, withdrawal, antidepressant, venlafaxine, paroxetine, and effect. Patients’ concerns related to antidepressant withdrawal, the need to share experience about symptoms, effects, and questions on weight gain with some drugs. Conclusions: Patient expression on the Internet is a potential additional resource in addressing patients' concerns about treatment. Patient profiles are close to that of patients treated in psychiatry.

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